In Their Own Words: Senior Israeli Officials on the Palestinian Question

May 30th, 2015 by Institute for Middle East Understanding

Prime Minister & Minister of Foreign Affairs Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud Party Leader)

[Question: If you are reelected prime minister, there will be no Palestinian state?] “Indeed.” – March 2015

“[A]s long as Likud is in power, we won’t divide Jerusalem, we won’t make concessions, we won’t withdraw from land.” –March 2015

“I think the Israeli people understand now what I always say: that there cannot be a situation, under any agreement, in which we relinquish security control of the territory west of the River Jordan [the occupied West Bank].” – July 2014

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Hotovely (Likud)

“We are opposed to a Palestinian state… [Netanyahu’s 2009 declaration of support for a Palestinian state at Bar-Ilan University was] a tactical speech for the rest of the world.” – December 2012

Minister of Education & Minister of Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home Party Leader)

“I will do everything in my power, forever, to fight against a Palestinian state being founded in the Land of Israel.” –January 2013

Minister of Interior Silvan Shalom (Likud)

“We are all against a Palestinian state, there is no question about it.” – May 2012

Deputy Minister of Defense (Rabbi) Eli Ben-Dahan (Jewish Home)

“We oppose a Palestinian state completely… As our party advocates, we need to take full control of Area C [60% of the occupied West Bank] and impose Israeli law there.” – February 2013

“[Palestinians] are beasts, they are not human.” – August 2013.

Minister of Internal Security, Minister of Tourism & Cabinet Liaison to the Knesset Yariv Levin (Likud)

“We will act to strengthen our hold on all parts of Eretz Israel, and will safeguard the settlement enterprise out of faith and the knowledge that exercising our rights to this land is our duty but also the best guarantee for Israel’s security.” –June 2013

“In this way, we will try, slowly but surely, to expand the circle of settlements, and to afterwards extend the roads that lead to them, and so forth. At the end of this process, the facts on the ground will be that whatever remains [of the occupied West Bank] will be merely marginal appendages… We fully agree and are completely united behind the prime minister’s position, which is to strengthen our foothold in the Land of Israel, to build in [occupied East] Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria [the occupied West Bank].” – January 2013

“Even when the prime minister [Netanyahu] spoke about the issue of two states, he didn’t speak about a [Palestinian] state in the full sense. He spoke about a long range of conditions that he himself says there is no chance that they will be fulfilled in the near future due to the actions of the other side.” – January 2013

Minister of Immigration and Absorption & Minister for Jerusalem Affairs Zeev Elkin (Likud)

“I certainly think a Palestinian state is no solution. And if I think a Palestinian state is no solution, that means I do want a Jewish presence here. Which raises the question: What do you do with the Palestinian population? And I don’t think the answer to that question can be found right now. But a Palestinian state is no solution, not for us and I don’t think for them either.” – July 2013

“We will try to apply sovereignty over the maximum [of the occupied West Bank] that we can at any given moment… It will take time to change people’s awareness but in the end this will penetrate. And then, what seems today like a fairy tale will eventually become political reality, and the reality on the ground.” – January 2013

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Uri Ariel (Jewish Home)

“…not even one settlement in Judea and Samaria [the occupied West Bank] will be uprooted… Israeli citizens [settlers] will only be under full Israeli sovereignty. And west of the Jordan River there will only be one state and that is the state of Israel.” – March 2014

“With God’s help we will continue building all the land of Israel and Jerusalem the capital… It must be made clear that this is only the beginning. This melody can’t be stopped… We can and will market thousands of [settlement] apartments in [occupied East] Jerusalem and there are more than 10,000 apartments ready for marketing in Judea and Samaria.” – August 2013

Minister of Transportation and Road Safety & Minister of Intelligence and Atomic Energy Yisrael Katz (Likud)

“I am opposed to a Palestinian state. It is unacceptable, mainly because of our rights to this land.” – July 2013

Minister of Science, Technology, and Space Danny Danon (Likud)

“A deal giving up most of Judea and Samaria [the occupied West Bank] – the current Likud leadership will not accept that… We [who oppose such steps] are the majority in the party.” – September 2013

“Look at the government: there was never a government discussion, resolution or vote about the two-state solution… If you will bring it to a vote in the government… you will see the majority of Likud ministers, along with the Jewish Home [party], will be against it… Today we’re not fighting it, but if there will be a move to promote a two-state solution, you will see forces blocking it within the [Likud] party and the government.” – June 2013

“The long-term vision is to apply Jewish sovereignty over the Jewish communities [settlements] of Judea and Samaria, and I am proud of it.” – November 2012

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The End of Monsanto

May 30th, 2015 by Julie Lévesque

An increasing number of countries are banning Monsanto’s cancer-linked Roundup herbicide, a.k.a. glyphosate. Others are banning Monsanto’s GMOs. Meanwhile, Monsanto-funded U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton thinks “(t)here is a big gap between what the facts are, and what the perceptions are.” Actually the facts are established: Monsanto’s herbicides and GMOs are harmful to humans and animals. Several studies have demonstrated it and even led the World Health Organization to issue a warning against glyphosate’s links to cancer.

In fact, Monsanto knew 35 years ago that its glyphosate was linked to cancer and other health issues. GM-Free Cymru discovered this while looking into the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) archives from the early 80’s:

There were many animal experiments (using rats, mice and dogs) designed to test the acute and chronic toxicity of glyphosate in the period 1978-1986, conducted by laboratories such as Bio/dynamics Inc for Monsanto and submitted for EPA consideration… but like all the other older studies they were and still are treated as Trade Secrets and cannot be freely accessed for independent scrutiny. That in itself is suggestive that the studies contain data which Monsanto still does not wish to be examined by experts in the toxicology field. It is also deeply worrying that EPA acceded to the routine Monsanto requests for secrecy on the flimsiest of pretexts.

However, archived and accessible EPA Memos from the early 1980′s do give some indications as to what the rat studies contain (9). Although the studies predate the adoption of international test guidelines and GLP standards they suggest that there was significant damage to the kidneys of the rats in the 3-generational study… In the rat study results, the changes in the bladder mucosa are significant because metabolites, concentrated by the kidneys, have led to hyperplasia that could be considered as a very early and necessary step in tumour initiation. (GM-Free Cymru, Monsanto Knew of Glyphosate / Cancer Link 35 Years Ago, April 19, 2015)

Genetically modified foods are also linked to health issues including gluten disorders:

The Executive Director of the Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT) Jeffrey M. Smith has discovered a link between gluten disorders and GM foods in a study he conducted last year. Gluten disorders have sharply risen over the past 2 decades, which correlates with GM foods being introduced into the food supply. Smith asserts that GM foods – including soy and corn – are the possible “environmental triggers” that have contributed to the rapid increase of gluten disorders that effect close to 20 million American’s today. (Steven MacMillan, Monsanto’s GMO Food and its Dark Connections to the “Military Industrial Complex”, The Analyst Report, July 03, 2014)

Ironically, Hillary praises GMOs but during their stay at the White house, the Clintons, just like the Obamas, were fed organic food:

The Clinton and Bush II families ate organic foods. Walter Scheib was White House executive chef from 1994 – 2005.

He had “the professional challenge of fulfilling Hillary Clinton’s mandate of bringing contemporary American cuisine and nutritionally responsible food to the White House,” he said.

Nearly all foods used were gotten from local growers and suppliers. A small White House roof garden was used for produce grown without pesticides and fertilizers. Organic foods were prioritized.

First families continue getting wholesome pesticide/GMO-free foods while promoting frankenfoods hazardous to human health for Monsanto and other biotech giants. (Stephen Lendman, Hillary Clinton Endorses GMOs. White House Meals are Organic, Global Research, May 25, 2015)

As Mike Adams reports, Hillary Clinton has  hired former Monsanto lobbyist to run her campaign and her law firm used to have Monsanto as a client. It is no surprise that she strongly advocates GMOs.

If GMOs are as good as Hillary pretends they are, however, why are the first families not eating any and why are so many countries banning them?

The reasons for the bans recall the allegedly fraudulent 2012 Seralini study:

In response to a 2004 study declaring Monsanto’s NK603 GMO maize safe:

“…a predominantly French team led by Prof Gilles-Eric Séralini undertook a two-year (over 700 days), feeding trial [2], which was otherwise similar. Their work was published in September 2012, also inFCT. The early warnings that had been dismissed in the Monsanto paper developed into serious illnesses, including damage to liver, kidneys, pituitary gland and, most notably, early deaths and development of large tumours in females. In addition, the study included trials of minute amounts of Monsanto’s Roundup, the herbicide to which tolerance has been genetically engineered into NK603, in the rats’ drinking water.” (Christina Sarich Former Monsanto Employee Fired from Major Scientific Journal’s Editor Position, Natural Society, March 30, 2015)

The study was labeled fraudulent soon after its publication and was retracted from the Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology. Shortly before the study was retracted, ex-Monsanto employee Richard Goodman had been appointed Associate Editor. He has since been removed from the Editorial Board of the scientific journal along with Editor-in-Chief, A. Wallace Hayes:

After the Seralini study was retracted, hundreds of scientists contacted the journal to ask them why they were doing so, claiming that they were giving in to pressure from the biotech industry. (Ibid.)

The WHO’s recent warning seems to have triggered a domino effect, inciting countries to ban Monsanto products and which could lead to its demise.

Here is a list of bans which are either in effect or on their way all around the world, as well as studies showing the damages caused by Monsanto’s products:

Glyphosate ban

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s Newly Elected President Bans Glyphosate (Monsanto Roundup) – Deadly Chronic Kidney Disease Increased 5-Fold

Sri Lanka’s newly elected president, Maithripala Sirisena, has announced that the import of Monsanto’s favorite killing-tool, glyphosate, will no longer be allowed in the country.

Sirisena is a farmer and ex health minister, and blames glyphosate for rising rates of chronic kidney disease (CKD) throughout the Sri Lankan farming community.

The Netherlands

Netherlands Bans Monsanto’s Roundup to Protect Citizens from Carcinogenic Glyphosate

Late last year, the Dutch parliament voted to ban the sale of glyphosate-based herbicides to private parties. The ban, under which agricultural use is excluded, was initially proposed several years ago. However, it is thought that Monsanto influence prevented it from taking place at the time.

Brazil

Brazil’s Public Prosecutor Wants to Ban Monsanto’s Chemicals Following Recent Glyphosate-Cancer Link

While some agencies in Brazil have been busy giving 3 new GMO crops green lights, the country’s public prosecutor has written the Brazil’s National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) asking it to urgently re-evaluate their stance on the ‘likely carcinogenic’ herbicide ingredient, glyphosate. The letter was written with an expectation that the agency will ban the main ingredient in Monsanto’s best selling herbicide.

Germany (European Union)

German Ministers Call for EU-Wide Ban on Monsanto’s Deadly Glyphosate Herbicide (Roundup)

State consumer protection ministers in Germany are advocating an EU-wide ban on glyphosate herbicides in response to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) categorization of the chemical as “probably carcinogenic.”

Argentina

30,000 Doctors in Argentina Demand that Glyphosate (Monsanto Roundup) Be Banned

The doctors are part of FESPROSA, Argentina’s Union of medical professionals. Citing the World Health Organization’s recent declaration that the glyphosate chemicals used in Monsanto’s best-selling herbicide Round Up (formulated to use on Round Up Ready crops) are “likely carcinogenic,” they add an additional disclaimer:

Glyphosate is also associated with:

  • Spontaneous abortions

  • Birth defects

  • Skin disease

  • Respiratory illness

  • Neurological disease

Bermuda

Bermuda Suspends Glyphosate-Ridden Monsanto Roundup Indefinitely

Following a recent study on Monsanto’s best-selling herbicide Roundup and its main chemical ingredient glyphosate, Bermuda has decided to suspend any importation of glyphosate/Roundup until further research give reason to lift the suspension.

GMOs ban

France

French Parliament Moves Beyond Monsanto, Bans GMO Corn

France’s lower house of Parliament banned GM corn in a sweeping fashion, Reuters reported. Now, no variety of GM corn can be cultivated because of its toxic threats to the soil, insects and human health.

U.S.

The Maui GMO Ban and the Monsanto-Dow Criminal Human Experimentation

In the last election, the voters of Maui, in a ballot measure, decided to place a temporary ban on further Dow/Monsanto GMO/pesticide experiments in Maui County.

Immediately, Monsanto, Dow, and yes, even the County government of Maui (betraying their own voters), lined up against the results of the vote.

Hungary

Hungary Destroys All Monsanto GMO Corn Fields

Hungary has taken a bold stand against biotech giant Monsanto and genetic modification by destroying 1000 acres of maize found to have been grown with genetically modified seeds, according to Hungary deputy state secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development Lajos Bognar.

Unlike many European Union countries, Hungary is a nation where genetically modified (GM) seeds are banned.

Peru

Peru Passes Monumental Ten-Year Ban on Genetically Modified Foods

In an act of defiance against bloated biotech companies like Monsanto, Peru has officially passed a law banning genetically modified ingredients within the nation for a period of 10 years…

While the ban will stop the flow of GM foods within the nation’s borders, a recent test conducted by the Peruvian Association of Consumers and Users (ASPEC) found that 77 percent of supermarket products tested contained GM contaminants.

Russia

Why Is Russia Banning GMOs While the US Keeps Approving Them?

The VP of Russia’s National Association for Genetic Safety, Irina Ermakova, has said:

“It is necessary to ban GMOs, to impose moratorium (on) it for 10 years… It has been proven that not only in Russia, but also in many other countries in the world, GMOs are dangerous. Methods of obtaining the GMOs are not perfect, therefore, at this stage, all GMOs are dangerous. Consumption and use of GMOs obtained in such way can lead to tumors, cancers and obesity among animals.

China

Geopolitics of Organic Food: Russia, China and France Ban GMOs

Russia’s stance against GMO is mirrored elsewhere, including in France where just recently Monsanto’s GM corn was banned and in China where the importing of US GM corn has been outlawed. The backlash against GMO has widespread appeal due to well-placed health and environmental concerns among increasingly informed populations. But the drive to push back against GMO in nations like Russia and China also has a geopolitical dimension.

Studies

Monsanto Double Standards and the Crumbling “Scientific Myths” of the GMO Biotech Sector

Monsanto Roundup: The Impacts of Glyphosate Herbicide on Human Health. Pathways to Modern Diseases

Study Shows Monsanto Roundup Herbicide Link to Birth Defects

Cancer of Corruption, Seeds of Destruction: The Monsanto GMO Whitewash

Former Pro-GMO Biotech Scientist Admits GMOs Aren’t Safe, Refutes Claims by Monsanto

The Toxic Impacts of GMO Maize: Scientific Journal Bows to Monsanto, Retracts anti-Monsanto Study

More Evidence that Herbicide Glyphosate (Monsanto Roundup) Causes Cancer

Chronic Kidney Failure 5 Times Higher in Glyphosate-Ridden (Monsanto Roundup) Areas, Study Confirms

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At the 11th hour, Palestinian Football Association president Jibril Rajoub dropped a bid to expel Israel from FIFA shortly before it was to be voted on.

Israeli abuses against Palestinian footballers are longstanding – including harassment, travel restrictions, assaults, arrests and at times killings.

Competitive sports of any kind should refuse inclusion of rogue regimes like Israel guilty of every imaginable high crime – including racist abuse of Palestinian athletes for praying to the wrong God.

Instead of banishing Israel straightaway, FIFA proposed forming a committee to monitor whether Palestinian footballers have free movement, Israeli racism, and status of Israeli league teams based in illegal settlements.

Reelected FIFA president Sepp Blatter opposed ousting Israel. Instead of condemning its lawlessness, he absurdly said “(t)hose that have more will share with those who have less.”

“In this case, it is up to Israel to share a little bit more with Palestine.” Israel is a racist police state. It shares nothing. It’s all take and no give.

Rajoub takes orders from Abbas and other corrupt PA officials – longstanding Israeli collaborators, saying one thing publicly, doing another when it matters most.

Rajoub lied saying “Palestine has not withdrawn its application completely, but merely suspended it.”

When the chips were down, he folded. It didn’t surprise. Abbas notoriously betrays Palestinians for special benefits he derives. His rhetoric belies his policies.

Rajoub was unconvincing saying “(a) lot of colleagues, whom I respect and whose commitment to the ethics and values of the game I appreciate, told me how painful it is to hear of the issue of suspension.”

“But I want to protect the Palestinian footballers, to let them enjoy the privilege of the game as others do.”

“I think it’s time to raise the red card against racism and humiliation in Palestine and everywhere. It is time.”

Not when meaningless rhetoric substitutes for resoluteness – an attribute corrupt PA officials lack. Why they submitted an Israeli expulsion bid in the first place they’ll have to explain – likely knowing they’d fold under pressure.

Two female protesters interrupted Blatter’s Friday address shouting “Israel out.” Security guards removed them.

Rajoub submitted Palestine’s bid months earlier. He pretended to be firm all along.

Days earlier he said “(o)ur requests are clear, just and fair: Freedom of movement, end of racism and expulsion of all teams from illegal Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestine competing in the Israeli league.”

Racist abuse of Palestinian footballers is longstanding Israeli policy. Archbishop Desmond Tutu once called it “shocking that (European football’s governing body – UEFA) shows total insensitivity to the blatant and entrenched discrimination inflicted on Palestinian sportsmen and women by Israel.”

Its abuse of Palestinian footballer Mahmoud Sarsak undermined a promising career. In 2009, Israeli security thugs arrested him for trying to cross from Gaza to the West Bank to participate in a match – his legitimate right.

He was horrifically abused, lawlessly kept in administrative detention for three years uncharged. His lawyers were denied access to fabricated evidence against him.

He was guilty of the crime of football – freed in summer 2012 after a 92 day hunger strike. Israel ruthlessly targets other Palestinian footballers like Sarsak.

Netanyahu commented on Friday’s developments saying the outcome “proved our international efforts paid off and brought about the failure of the Palestinian Authority’s attempt to expel us from FIFA…”

Israeli bullying and extreme pressure are notorious along with supportive likeminded tactics from Washington.

Palestinians stood little chance of getting Israel ousted or suspended. Occupation harshness persists. Abusing Palestinian footballers gives new meaning to the term “foul.”

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.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

 

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Pivot Insanity: Why is Obama Goading China?

May 30th, 2015 by Michael Whitney

US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter is willing to risk a war with China in order to defend  “freedom of navigation” in the South China Sea. Speaking in Honolulu, Hawaii on Wednesday, Carter issued his “most forceful” warning yet, demanding “an immediate and lasting halt to land reclamation” by China in the disputed Spratly Islands.

Carter said:   “There should be no mistake: The United States will fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows, as we do all around the world.” He also added that the United States intended to remain “the principal security power in the Asia-Pacific for decades to come.”

In order to show Chinese leaders “who’s the boss”, Carter has threatened to deploy US warships and surveillance aircraft to within twelve miles of the islands that China claims are within their territorial waters. Not surprisingly, the US is challenging China under the provisions of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea,  a document the US has stubbornly refused to ratify.  But that’s neither here nor there for the bellicose Carter whose insatiable appetite for confrontation makes him the most reckless Sec-Def since Donald Rumsfeld.

So what’s this really all about?  Why does Washington care so much about a couple hundred yards of sand piled up on reefs reefs in the South China Sea? What danger does that pose to US national security? And, haven’t Vietnam, Taiwan and the Philippines all engaged in similar “land reclamation” activities without raising hackles in DC?

Of course, they have. The whole thing is a joke. Just like Carter’s claim that he’s defending the lofty principal of “freedom of navigation” is a joke. China has never blocked shipping lanes or seized boats sailing in international waters. Never.  The same cannot be said of the United States that just  recently blocked an Iranian ship loaded with humanitarian relief–food, water and critical medical supplies–headed to starving refugees in Yemen. Of course, when the US does it, it’s okay.

The point is, Washington doesn’t give a hoot about the Spratly Islands; it’s just a pretext to slap China around and show them who’s running the show in their own backyard. Carter even admits as much in his statement above when he says that the US plans to be “the principal security power in the Asia-Pacific for decades to come.” China knows what that means. It means “This is our planet, so you’d better shape up or you’re going to find yourself in a world of hurt.” That’s exactly what it means.

So let’s cut to the chase and try to explain what’s really going on, because pretty soon no one is going to be talking about Ukraine, Syria or Yemen because all eyes are going to be focused on China where our madhatter Secretary of Defense is trying to start a third world war.

Here’s the scoop: Washington has abandoned its China policy of “containment” and moved on to Plan B:  Isolation, intimidation and confrontation. In my opinion, this is why the powerbrokers behind Obama dumped Hagel. Hagel just wasn’t hawkish enough for the job. They wanted a died-in-the-wool, warmongering neocon, like Carter, who is, quite likely, the most dangerous man in the world.

Carter’s assignment is to implement the belligerent new policy of incitement and conflict. His actions will prove to the skeptics that Washington is no longer interested in integrating China into the US-led system. Rather, China has become a the biggest threat to Washington’s plan to pivot to Asia. And, just to remind readers how important the pivot is to America’s future, here’s an Obama quote I lifted up from Tom Engelhardt’s latest titled “Superpower in Distress”:

“After a decade in which we fought two wars that cost us dearly, in blood and treasure, the United States is turning our attention to the vast potential of the Asia Pacific region….As we end today’s wars, I have directed my national security team to make our presence and mission in the Asia Pacific a top priority.”

The so called pivot is Washington’s “top priority”, which means that China’s unprecedented ascendency must be slowed and its regional influence curtailed. Thus, the dust up over the Spratly Islands will be used in the same way the US has used other incidents, that is, by demonizing China’s leaders in the media, by assembling a coalition that will publicly oppose China’s activities, by implementing harsh economic sanctions, by launching asymmetrical attacks on China’s currency and financial markets, by excluding China from critical trade agreements, and by inciting social unrest (color-coded revolution) through the support of dissidents living in China. These are the all-too-familiar signs of US meddling directed at “emerging rivals” who threaten US global hegemony. China now finds itself at the top of the list.

US powerbrokers know that bullying China involves significant risks for themselves and the world. Even so, they have decided to pursue this new policy and force a confrontation. Why? Why would they embark on a strategy so fraught with danger?

The answer is: They don’t see any way around it. They’ve tried containment and it hasn’t worked.  China’s growing like crazy and its regional influence threatens to leave the US on the outside looking in. Carter even admitted as much in a recent speech he gave at the McCain Institute at Arizona State University. He said: “We already see countries in the region trying to carve up these markets…forging many separate trade agreements in recent years, some based on pressure and special arrangements…. Agreements that…..leave us on the sidelines.  That risks America’s access to these growing markets. We must all decide if we are going to let that happen.  If we’re going to help boost our exports and our economy…and cement our influence and leadership in the fastest-growing region in the world; or if, instead, we’re going to take ourselves out of the game.”

See? It’s all about markets. It’s all about money. Here’s more from Carter’s speech:  (The) ” Asia-Pacific…is the defining region for our nation’s future”… “Half of humanity will live there by 2050″ and that “more than half of the global middle class and its accompanying consumption will come from that region.”….”There are already more than 525 million middle class consumers in Asia, and we expect there to be 3.2 billion in the region by 2030…President Obama and I want to ensure that… businesses can successfully compete for all these potential customers. ….Over the next century, no region will matter more… for American prosperity.”

This is why the Obama administration is making a general nuisance of itself in the South China Sea. It’s so the big US mega-corporations will have new customers for their IPADs and toaster ovens.

For that, they are willing to risk a nuclear war.

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

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Students attend college to pursue their interests, broaden their intellectual horizons and make headway toward a career. While this is made difficult due to the amount of debt that many must saddle in order to earn a degree, there is also another, much stealthier problem as well: the college bureaucracy.

University bureaucracies absorb large amounts of funding and undermine the alleged goal of college, which is to provide an education. But they also signal something more sinister: the neo-liberalization of education, now viewed as a business.

The rise in college bureaucracy is nothing new, and has been noted for quite some time. Ralph Reiland wrote in 1996 in the National Review that “over the past two decades, the number of college and university faculty has increased by 30 per cent and the number of non-faculty jobs on campus has more than doubled.” And Benjamin Ginsberg, in his 2011 book The Fall of the Faculty: The Rise of the All-Administrative University and Why It Matters provides more recent numbers, noting that from 1985 to 2005 the number of “administrators rocketed by 85 percent and their attendant staff by a whopping 240 percent.”

All of which begs the question: what is it exactly that these college bureaucrats do? Universities wouldn’t spend precious funds hiring them for no reason, yet much of the time there isn’t even enough work to keep all the bureaucrats busy. As a result, many have been charged with creating tradition committees, whose goal it is to instill “pride in the university for the campus community as well as for extended university community members through preservation and resurrection of time-honored traditions.”

Other bureaucrats, meanwhile, are merely afflicted with meeting madness, symptoms of which include the creation of “endless rounds of meetings, mostly with other administrators, often consisting of reports from and plans for other meetings.”

Thus, like bureaucracies elsewhere, many college bureaucrats may engage in important work, but they also do a good amount of pointless exercises in order to justify their continued existence. This isn’t in itself a cause for calamity, but the situation gets worse when these individuals end up taking home the lion’s share of school funding.

For example, the National Center for Education Statistics reported that in the 2010-11 school year, colleges spent $449 billion – but out of that, less than 30 percent, or $129 billion, went to actual instruction. “For every $1 spent on instruction, $1.82 is spent on non-instructional things such as ‘academic support, student services, institutional support, public service’ and a catch-all category called ‘other,’” the center reported.

Some universities argue that the massive costs are due to federal research grant rules, affirmative action, and general campus safety, among other things. But these expenditures simply don’t cover it, as a cursory examination of college websites shows.

Take the University of Texas at Austin, where President Bill Powers has 17 administrators on his staff, including two “deputies,” an executive assistant and multiple assistants to the assistants. The provost has 10 “vice provosts” working for him (each with staff); the “director of diversity and community engagement” had 14 “key” administrators and an unknown number of lesser workers; and the development office listed 118 employees, 32 of whom worked in university communications (not counting communications specialists at subunits of UT).

In this case, staff sizes are massively bloated – and have nothing to do with affirmative action, research grants or many of the other so-called necessities.

The problem seems to be the nature of bureaucracies themselves: their original purpose may be well intended, but over time the institution becomes less and less about its original goals and more about the perpetuation of the institution, facilitated by its bureaucracy.

Ultimately, bureaucracies not only neglect but undermine the goal and state purpose of colleges. As Cavalier Daily columnist Alex Mink notes, “It is important to remember the purpose of college is to educate students, and therein its institutional focus should lie. This cannot be done as effectively when money that should be spent on faculty members is instead being spent on the people managing those members.”

The problem of exploding bureaucracies – and the cutback in funding to actual education – may help explain why American college graduates test and perform more poorly than other students around the world. In March 2015, CBS News reported on the Educational Testing Service that found that “in Japan, Finland and the Netherlands, young adults with only a high school degree scored on par with American Millennials holding four-year college degrees.”

On a deeper level, what the college bureaucracy trend reveals is an increasing neo-liberalization of U.S. education, in which schools are treated as businesses and students as customers.

Michael A. Peters wrote in Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice that the neo-liberalization of colleges has led to “the huge growth of administration vis-à-vis the teaching and research faculty, to an increasing bureaucratization of the university and to the emergence of a new class of ‘knowledge managers’ – an administrative cadre – whose job is monitor and measure academic performance and to maximize returns from research… Governing councils have become corporate boards further sidelining academic forums.”

This is especially true today as more and more colleges link up with corporations. For example, Pablo Eisenberg writing in 2010 for Inside Higher Ed noted that “Ruth Simmons, president of Brown University, has been a trustee at Goldman Sachs for 10 years, during which time she participated in the decisions to award the firm’s top executives huge, publicly contentious bonuses,” and that she had also been involved with the governance of Pfizer and Texas Instruments.

More recently, New Brunswick Today reported in April that Rutgers President Robert Barchi “has been getting paid from multiple entities with competing financial interests, including the taxpayers and tuition-payers at the state university, and two companies that do business with Rutgers.” Aren’t college presidents supposed to be helping manage the university instead of funneling in more money for themselves and the corporations they work for?

Apparently the jury is still out on this. And meanwhile, the problem of college bureaucracies not only seems here to stay, but on course to expand well into the future. That is, unless students and schools’ faculties themselves stand up to demand that education – not the business of it – becomes the priority.

This article was originally published on Occupy.com
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An unknown group attacked the company “Roshen” building in Kiev with a grenade launcher last night. There are no casualties, building is damaged. The owner of the company is the President Petro Poroshenko. We remember, so-called “democratic” leader of Ukraine didn’t and doesn’t want to sell his business despite the law prohibiting Ukrainian president has a business. In this case, Poroshenko isn’t the president, but one of the most powerful oligarch in Ukraine.

When Petro is trying to find authors of attack on his business, Ukrainian Premier Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk is continually smashing Minsk Agreements. On May 28, the official stated that Kiev government is ready to talk with People’s Republics only if their representatives will be jailed. This statement is one more observable evidence of Kiev’s unwil to solve the conflict in peaceful approach.

US-backed Saudi’s airforces killed at least 80 people, most of them civilians, near Yemen’s border with Saudi Arabia and in the capital Sana’a on Wednesday, residents said, the deadliest day of bombing in over two months of war in Yemen. The deadly airstrikes have escalated hard border clashes between the Shi’ite Muslim rebels and the coalition of Sunni Muslim Gulf Arab states.

Twin car bomb attacks targated the Babylon Hotel and Ishtar hotels in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad on Thursday. Reports said 15 people were killed and 27 others were wounded in the explosions. No group or individual has claimed responsibility for the deadly attacks yet, but Iraqi officials often blame such attacks on ISIS terrorists, who seized large swaths of the country during a blitz last year. Iraqi army, along with volunteer forces, is continuing to fightt the Islamic State across the country, especially in the provinces of Anbar and Salahuddin.

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Image: A Palestinian woman stands stand near an Israeli checkpoint during a “Jerusalem Day March” held by Israeli nationalists to celebrate 48 years since the occupation of East Jerusalem, 17 March. (Faiz Abu Rmeleh / ActiveStills)

Israeli occupation authorities delivered an order to Muna Shalabi, the wife of a recently sentenced Palestinian prisoner, informing her that they intend to expel her from her hometown of Jerusalem for “security reasons.”

Shalabi, 43, is from the Sawaneh neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem, and was informed by Israel’s interior ministry that she must leave the city for an unspecified amount of time, according to the publication Arab48.

Shalabi’s husband Omar, 44, was earlier this month sentenced to nine months in an Israeli prison after an Israeli court found him guilty of “supporting terrorism” and “incitement” for comments he wrote on Facebook last December.

Omar, the former secretary of Jerusalem’s branch of the Fatah political party, was one of eight Palestinians from the city arrested in December for Facebook comments.

The court cited “statuses” and comments he wrote in support of armed activities against Israelis following the kidnapping and murder of 17-year-old Muhammad Abu Khudair by Israeli settlers last July, according to the Israeli daily Haaretz.

Sami Deis, a 27-year-old Palestinian Jerusalemite who was arrested at the same time as Shalabi, was sentenced to eight months in prison for similar charges relating to a Facebook page – titled “Death to Israel” – that he created and administered.

“Worry and fear”

With Omar in prison, Muna is the sole parent taking care of their six children, who are aged 7-22 years old, Arab48 adds.

Held in Gilboa prison in northern present-day Israel, Omar is one of an estimated 5,820 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli lockup, according to the Ramallah-based prisoner support group Addameer.

The order does not specify the “security threat” that his wife poses — she has not been accused of any crime — by remaining in their family’s home. Although Israel’s interior ministry claims that it gave her 21 days to appeal the order, Shalabi denies that she was given any such opportunity.

Since receiving the order, Muna and her children have lived in “a situation of worry and fear” and she “appeals to relevant human rights and legal institutions and the international community for quick intervention … to stop Israel’s ethnic cleansing policies against Jerusalemites and [Palestinians’] presence in Jerusalem,” Arab48reports.

Israel’s practice of banning Palestinians from Jerusalem is nothing new.

In December 2014, five Palestinian activists from Jerusalem were banned from the city. Among them was Daoud al-Ghoul, a 31-year-old activist and tour guide.

Six days after receiving the original banning order, al-Ghoul received a military court decree in Ramallah, where he had relocated, banning him from the occupied West Bankin its entirety, as The Electronic Intifada reported at the time.

Al-Ghoul has since lived in Haifa, a coastal city in central present-day Israel, and is unable to continue his work as a tour guide for the time being.

Residency revoked

More than 300,000 Palestinians live in neighborhoods throughout East Jerusalem, where they regularly endure harassment and violence by Israeli occupation forces andsettlers alike. Palestinians native to the city are treated by Israeli occupation authorities as if they, not Israel which occupied the city in 1967, are the newcomers.

Banning Palestinians from the city is just one of several methods Israel employs to expedite the ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem and push the indigenous population out. Israel also regularly demolishes Palestinian homes in the city and revokes Palestinians’residency status.

Since Israel’s military occupation of the city in 1967, at least 14,416 Palestinians have had their residency revoked, according to the Israeli rights group Hamoked. In 2014 alone, Israel revoked the residency of 107 Palestinians from East Jerusalem, among them 56 women and 14 children.

These revocations have a much greater impact than on the individual targeted, as they often split married couples from each other and parents from children. Families are left with the prosepct of leaving the city en masse in order to stay together.

Thousands of children living in East Jerusalem do not carry residency papers and are thus denied access to healthcare, education and other basic services, as The Electronic Intifada has reported in the past.

In November 2014, Israel’s interior ministry revoked the residency of Nadia Abu Jamal, the wife of a Palestinian who was killed while attacking Israeli worshippers in a Jerusalem synagogue. That attack resulted in the deaths of five Israelis.

The decision came amid a harsh crackdown by Israeli occupation authorities on Palestinians in East Jerusalem.

“The formal phrase ‘permanent residency’ is misleading,” the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem observed in a press release following Abu Jamal’s residency status being revoked.

“This status is far from permanent, as evinced by the recent revocation and by thousands of previous cases of revocation,” the group continued. “The only permanent thing about this status is its temporary nature and instability.”

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Establishment historians portray the British Empire in India as a testament to British industry, British values, British discipline and general British superiority over the native people. They also credit the British with the creation of modern India, implying that the civilization and economy of pre-British India was superseded by the “natural” rules of evolution and survival. The following is a view from the other side. From 17th Century Mughal India, where the British East India Company had just set shop, and had instantly gained notoriety for rapaciousness. English translations of authentic Mughal-era Persian documents give an interesting view of Mughal tensions with the British at Bombay. They shed light on the Mughals mistaking British economic terrorism for “trade.” A grave mistake which lead to the colonization of India.

The Background

The incidents about to be described take place in a historical context best understood by the following maps.

The Mughal Empire is at its political zenith, under the last of the Major Mughal Emperors, Aurangzeb.

The British are one of the many European nations who have set up trading posts in coastal areas. Note that this map only shows European settlements. Whereas other Asian and Middle Eastern countries also had trading posts and settlements.

After being granted official permission to trade with India in 1612, British had created several settlements and trading posts across India. To quote,

The company created trading posts in Surat (where a factory was built in 1612), Madras (1639), Bombay (1668), and Calcutta (1690). By 1647, the company had 23 factories, each under the command of a factor or master merchant and governor if so chosen, and had 90 employees in India. The major factories became the walled forts of Fort William in Bengal, Fort St George in Madras, and the Bombay Castle.

Pretty soon, the British trading post at Bombay transformed into a walled fort which became known as the Bombay Castle.

 

Note the location selected for Bombay Castle, which would be definitely hard to control by the Mughals, who lacked a well-developed navy. The British clearly had imperial ambitions from the very beginning. On the other hand, genuine “traders” from other Asian countries never bothered to dig themselves into castles.

 

Approximately two centuries later, the British had crawled out of their “Trading Posts” to become the defacto Emperors of India.

Deconstructing the Establishment Narrative requires an understanding of the several myths that Establishment Historians employ.

Myth#1: That the British represented a Superior Economy and Superior Industry:

The very fact that the British would undertake a long, circuitous and risky route around Africa (this was before the Suez Canal) to establish “trading posts” in India indicates that the real action was in India. The British had thankfully been prevented from digging into the economic growth of the subcontinent because of the Ottomans who had blocked European land routes to India. But with the development of maritime technologies, the British found their way. Once the British managed to control India though, they did develop a superior economy based on machines (The “Industrial Revolution” of Manchester, which is covered in one of my books). Machines compensated for their lack of skilled workers. And initial British economic growth was from forcing finished British products upon the captive economy of India, which would eventually devolve into a “third world country.”

As we shall see in the documents below, the British excelled at (and still do) in creating parasitic bureaucratic structures which enabled them to extract taxes, customs, duties etc. from areas whose economic growth was completely inconsequential to their presence. Once the British Empire was established in India, they would even levy taxes on cooking salt! And opposition to this tax became a focal point of Gandhi’s movement. Needless to say, such parasitic behaviour had destructive consequences in the longterm. And the India that the British left behind is a good example.

At a time when the Indian economy was a level playing field, genuine traders such as those from Asian and Middle Eastern countries were busy getting their hands full. They were not digging themselves into island-castles like the British. While the British also had their hands full with legitimate trade, the documents we shall examine below reveal that they were secretly using the Bombay Castle to conduct economic terrorism (piracy).

Myth#2: That the British represented an Egalitarian Society:

When it comes to caste-based societies, India first comes to mind. But upon closer examination of British society, especially of that period, was so strongly hierarchical that it can be compared to a caste system. However, there are strong differences from a formal caste system as that in India.

  1. The top “caste” of British society, i.e. the Illuminati, established itself in Britian through conquest. They are of Germanic-Dutch origin.
  2. The top “caste” of British society is completely closed to assimilation or association.
  3. The top “caste” of British society is undocumented, and remains hidden from public view (with the exception of official royalty).
  4. The top “caste” of British society, i.e. the Illuminati, is probably the most predatory cabal in the creation. They are not just content with gobbling the privileges and prerogatives of their subject populations, but seek to establish the same dysfunctional societies even in non-Western countries.
  5. The lower castes are fairly content with their position as surrogates. In fact, they become the most efficient surrogates the world has ever seen. Revolution and rebellion are unheard of. Even Guy Fawkes, who stood up to the top caste, is portrayed as a terrorist. Robin Hood has been forgotten. The lower castes are more than content with being given some kibbles and bits from the larger spoils obtained by the top caste. And they will happily cheerlead any venture the top caste engages in. Needless to say, they are often exposed to risks, and even death. While their high caste royals, directors and commanders always remain safe.
  6. The lower castes cannot “escape” their fate unless they are to completely cut off contact with British society. But given their philistine nature, they have little regard for other societies and therefore fall back on their own ones, creating a cycle of servitude. Their fate is also sealed by the fact that their high caste has absolute domination over all geographical regions of their country.
  7. Actual slavery existed among the lower castes, with entire generations of orphans and other vulnerable members of society being reared for the sole purpose of providing cheap labour for enterprises of the higher castes.
  8. Outsiders (non-Britishers) are simply not allowed to participate in British economy. They cannot settle, compete or trade in Britain. Non-Europeans such as Indians are especially discriminated as “heathen.” While practicing such racist exclusivity in their home country, the British had no issue taking ungrateful advantage of the tolerance that was a feature of the Indo-Islamic civilization, to invite themselves to the Indian subcontinent.

Needless to say, 17th Century India was far more egalitarian than the then British Society. The servitude of the British people to their Criminal Elite was a phenomenon the people of the subcontinent could not relate to. Neither was attention ever drawn towards it in popular media. And the  people of the subcontinent would later try to apologetically define this curious phenomenon in terms of British “values” of “loyalty,” “Protestant work-ethic” and “discipline.” But it was none of these labels.

Myth#3: That the British succeeded in India because of Superior Technology

By then, the British did have superior technology in some areas, such as naval expertise and gunpowder weapons. But so did Germany and many other Western nations. And these technologies were only critical in some aspects of the British conquest of India. For example, the British did not have the numbers or the resources to take on Indian armies.

If we look at British conquest of India, we find it unusual compared to other conquests of India. For example, the Mughals came to India storming down the mountain passes of Central Asia with a massive gunpowder army, and conquering the city of Delhi in what can be described as a very risky gamble.

The British did none of that. They were fairly averse to high-stake gambles.

What did they do then? Establishment historians will give various answers. Some will even say that with Mughal power waning, British ascendency was only natural, and therefore we need not think too much about it.

A fresh look at British leadership, the Illuminati, may give us a radical answer. As readers may be aware, the Illuminati tends to be associated with unnatural, satanic malevolence towards the human species. What do you get when you combine the malevolence the Illuminati with the extraordinary and unquestioning servitude of the British people? The British Empire?

Clearly, the Mughals were no match for the sophisticated economic terrorism of the British Empire, a phenomenon which was completely alien to their then socio-political context. Further, the British had the secret blessings of all Western countries, which by then had succumbed to the same Illuminati. What else can explain traditional foes such as the French and the Portuguese, quickly abandoning their pretensions for India once it had been (secretly) decided that the British were to prevail?

The Documents

An account of the Mughal assault on the Bombay Castle

In 1686, the British East Company not content with being granted permission to operate trading posts in Bengal, entered the waterways of Bengal with twelve warships, carrying 200 pieces of cannon and 600 men. They intended to seize the port of Chittagong from the Mughals. The British encamped on a marshy island on the mouth of the Hooghly river. Soon, half their force was wiped out by disease. Overconfident that the Bombay Castle on the West Coast could not be breached by Mughal forces, the British began blockading Mughal ports on the West Coast in 1688. Ships carrying pilgrims to Mecca were also captured. After that, Emperor Aurangzeb issued orders for the extirpation of the British from all of India, and for the confiscation of their property. In accordance with this, an assault was ordered on the Bombay Castle.

The following account is by Abul Fazl Mamuri, a Mughal historian who wrote during the reign of Aurangzeb (1658-1707). It is found as an Appendix in book which is the English translation of the Persian account of another historian who was also witness to Aurangzeb’s reign, Khafi khan (more about him later). Note that the date of the account may be slightly incorrect. Should you wish to cite this account, please use the following citation (given in MLA style):

Khafi Khan, Aurangzeb in Muntakhab-al lubab trans. Anees Jahan Syed (Bombay: Somaiya Publications, 1977)

Page 371


Appendix A

Siddi Yaqut’s Siege of Bombay

(Ma’muri British Museum Or. MSS. 1671, 159a-160b and A.T., pp. 468-473)

Another event of the twenty-seventh regnal year [of Aurangzeb] (August 24, 1683-4), was the effort made by Yaqut Khan, the Abyssinian (Habashi), the faujdar of Rajpuri to conquer the island of Bombay which belonged to the English – efforts which owing to the lack of attention on the part of the officers of the court were quite wasted. This is a brief account of it.

The English though Christians, have a king Of their own, quite distinct from the king of the Ferangi (Portuguese); their places of worship and churches are also not like those of the Ferangis. A long time ago they had captured an island near Rajpuri and on the way to the port Of Surat, and building a strong fort there, had gjven it the name of Mamba-i [1] (Bombay). Here they had established officers who consider themselves the representatives and delegates of the king of their nation; their gumashtas have factories (Koth-i-tijarat) at

[1] It is a very old city on the islands of Mahim and Mumba Devi, the two islands now combined make the present city of Bombay. Under Aurangzeb the town was held by the English under the sovereignty of the English monarch. A silver rupee first of its kind was minted at Bombay “by Authority of Charles the Second, King of Britain, France and Ireland” (Hobson Jobson, pp. 775-776). For a discussion on the origin of the town and history see Ibid pp. 102-104.

Page 372

Surat and other ports, and their ships frequent all sea-ports.

After the Marathas had established their power over and and sea, the mischief-makers of Sorath (Saurashtra) known as Jaro(?) in the province of Ahmadabad began occasionally to plunder the ships on the way to Bhakkar and Iran. Following them, the English, owing to the strength of their fort and some warboats, in the twenty-seventh year of the reign when Mukhtar Khan was the mutasaddi of the Surat fort, seized a ship of Mulla Abdul Ghafoor, one of the leading merchants of Surat; this ship, after selling the merchandise of India was returning from the ports of Mokha and Jaddah, and it had no valuables on board except Ibrahimi coins, silver and gold. They used the silver and Ibrahimis for minting their own coins, which they caused to circulate in their fort and their islands.

When the vakil of Mulla Abdul Ghafoor petitioned to the emperor, the latter ordered Mukhtar Khan to investigate the matter. Mukhtar Khan wrote to the English, but the English denied their responsibility and attributed this boldness to the inhabitants of Sorath in the province of Ahmadabad. Mukhat Khan thereupon, imprisoned the English gumastas, who were in the port of Surat. The English on coming to know of this, captured another ship of Mulla Abdul Ghafoor, which was going to one of the ports, on the high seas; they brought it to the fort and kept it in their custody without unloading it. They then wrote to Mulla Abdul Ghafoor. “Unless our gumastas, who have been imprisoned without any proof of guilt, are set free, we will not let go of your ships.” The English also wrote a letter to Siddi Yaqut requesting him to appeal to Mukhtar Khan that their gumastas may be set free.

Siddi Yaqut Khan, who in that region had obtained a great reputation for good administration and courage, also knew all the mischief-makers of the region. In reply to the English request, he wrote a few harsh words of warning. The English after a few days, captured twelve boats full of grain and other commodities belonging to Siddi Yaqut, which were coming from some place.

Siddi Yaqut realised that the English were beating the drum of rebellion and began to reflect on the measures for punishing them. He consulted Siddi Ambar and Khusrau Khan, who were his friends and comrades. It was impossible to undertake the enterprise without the English coming to know of it; the fort of Bombay was strong and (the garrison) well-organised; the way from Rajpuri to Bombay is across the sea and the branch of sea for two or three karohs (runs through the land) and the whole of it is within the range of cannon-shot from the shore. The English had established their chowkies on both sides of this sea-way and were on the watch both day and night; they also took customs duties from boats full of grain etc. that passed through this sea-way. It was impossible for (enemy) war-boats to cross this narrow channel, and there was no other route.

After some laborious planning Siddi Yaqut and Siddi Ambar proceed with the siege, which is described in page 373. The following page (374) details the narrowly missed victory.

Page 374

After a period of two months, the trenches and the mines reached the foot of the fort. Owing to the continuous fire from the artillery of the fort, the followers of Yakut Khan were reduced to sore straits, and many of his most courageous officers gave way to despair. But Yaqut Khan, in order to encourage his men to an onslaught , pushed himself forward against many thousand (English) muskets that were being discharged; most of the men who were with him at his right and at his left, bowed their heads low in martyrdom and did not raise them again. But the Abyssinian leader, who had reached the age of eighty, did not stir from his place, and keeping his feet firm, he looked fiercely at those who had not advanced and shouted to those who were lingering behind the corpses.

Two or three thousand soldiers of Siddi Yaqut were wounded or martyred on that day. , but the courage of Yaqut Khan had been such that the fall of the fort was a question of that day or the morrow. At this moment, the vakils of the English approached the officers of the court by spending three lakhs [3,00,000] and represented. “The English are not to blame. We promise that forsaking the fort, we will live in a haveli built of wood outside it.” The request of the English was accepted and stern mace-bearers were dispatched to keep Siddi Yaqut away from the foot of the Bombay fort. When they reached the conditions described, Siddi Yaqut refrained from persisting in the siege of the fort, but he objected to starting for Rajpuri, as owing to the rainy season, it was difficult for boats to navigate in the storm-tossed sea. But the mace-bearers immediately put him on his boats and compelled him to start for Rajpuri. Two boats full of his valuables were sunk [2]. After commenting upon the religious and egalitarian ways of Siddi Yaqut and his struggle with the Marathas, Ma’muri adds] “The Abyssinians had gained such a predominance over the Marathas that Sambha was afraid of the name of the Abyssinians. But after the disgrace to which he was put in the siege of Bombay, Siddi Yaqut neglected reducing the fort built by the Marathas on the islands, which would have entailed the expenditure of a lot of money and siege material.

[2] Two words here are not clear in both the MSS (A.T., & British Museum).

Why did the Mughals mysteriously abandon the siege despite the effort expended, and when victory was only a matter of time?

Why did the Mughals mysteriously abandon the siege despite the effort expended, and when victory was only a matter of time? This continues to remain a mystery. But in one of my books, I did find indication of Illuminati infiltration within Mughal royalty. Looks like the British made use of some inside help to circumvent Aurnagzeb’s orders to extirpate the British. Later, in the 39th regnal year of Aurangzeb, Sidi Yaqut barely survived a well-coordinated assassination attempt, which was attributed to the wife Khayriyat Khan, although her motives remain a mystery (Khafi Khan, History of Alamgir, p.449).

To make Aurangzeb lift the siege of Bombay Castle, British East India Company executives begged for his pardon while prostrating themselves before him. They also agreed to pay a huge indemnity, which was immediately delivered to the Mughals. Source: ebay, July 2004 “Title: “LES ANGLOIS DEMANDENT PARDON A AURENGZEB QU’ILS ONT OFFENSE”: from “Histoire Philosophique et Politique Des Establissemens et du Commerce des Europeens dans Les Deux Indes”, by Guillaume Thomas Raynal, published in Geneva, 1780.”

Mughal admiral Siddi Yaqut operated the Mughal Navy out the island fortress of Murud-Janjira on the West coast. It was the only fort along India’s Western coast that continued to remain undefeated despite Dutch, Maratha and English East India Company attacks.

An account of the British in Bombay Castle resuming economic terrorism piracy against Mughal ships

The Mughals made a dangerous mistake by lifting the siege of Bombay in 1690 after the British begged for peace.

Had Aurangzeb persisted in extirpating the British from India, the entire course of subsequent history would have been a much positive one.

Five years later, the British would dishonour the peace treaty they had concluded with Aurangzeb by capturing a Mughal Imperial ship returning from Mecca. But this time, they learnt the neccesity of being sneaky. Although the operation was conducted out of Bombay Castle, the British created plausible deniability by attributing it to British “pirates.”

The following is an English translation of the account of another historian who was also witness to Aurangzeb’s reign, Khafi khan. Unlike Mamuri, Khafi Khan was not a court historian. And therefore his accounts are considered more insightful and unbiased. Note that the page numbers found within the paragraphs refer to the page numbers of the original Persian manuscript. Should you wish to cite this account, please use the following citation (given in MLA style):

Khafi Khan History of Alamgir trans. By S. Moinul Haq (Karachi: Pakistan Historical Society, 1975)

Page 419

English Pirates create trouble

The story of the trouble created by the English at sea, and the expedition of Sidi Yaqut to the fort of Mumbi (Bombay) has already been narrated. He had to discontinue the operations under orders of the Emperor just at the time when he was about to capture it. In this year, the Imperial ship, named Ganj-i-Sawa’i, the largest in the fleet at the port of Surat, which used to take pilgrims every year to House of God was returning to Surat with fifty-two lakhs [52,00,000] of cash in the shape of gold coins and Riyals[1], the sale proceeds of Indian goods Mukhkha[2] and Jedda. The captain of the ship Muhammad Ibrahim considered himself to be a great warrior. He had got prepared the iron ladles and kept them, with him, and used to say that [P. 422] he would capture with their help the ships of the enemy and their men alive. There were eighty guns and four hundred muskets, besides other armaments on the ship. When the ship was at a distance of eight or nine days journey from the port of Surat, an English ship, which was very small compared to it and had not even one third or one fourth of its

[1]: The name of Arabian coins.

[2]: Mukhkha (Mocha), a small sea port near the strait of Bab-al-Mandab, famous for the export of copper.

Page 420

Armaments came forward to fight it. When it reached within gunshot distance, they fired a gun from the Imperial ship. Unfortunately for the men in the ship the gun burst and three or four persons were killed by the pieces of iron that flew from it. In the meantime, a ball from the enemy’s ship struck the central mast of the Ganj-i-Sawa’i, which is called Daol, in the language of the sailors and on which mainly depends the safety of the ship. The ship was damaged. On coming to know of this the men on the English ship, became bolder and brought it close to the Imperial ship and attacked it. They started fighting with their swords and jumped into it. The Christians were not as skilled in sword fight as the Muslims are and there was so much armament on the Imperial ship that if its captain, had shown some courage, he would have freed himself from the trouble, but as soon as the English boarded the ship, Muhammad Ibrahim, the captain, who was also the Fawjdar of the ship rushed to the space under the planks of the deck. Some Turkish maids whom he had purchased at Mukhkhah and kept them as his slave girls (Sariyyah), and tied turbans on their heads, gave them swords and asked them to fight, but they fell into the hands of the Christians. The whole of the ship came under their control and they carried away all of the gold and silver, along with a large number of prisoners to their ship [P.423]. When their ship became overloaded, they brought the Imperial ship to the sea coast, near one of their settlements. After having remained for a week, in searching for plunder, stripping the men of their clothes and dishonouring the old and young women, they left the ship and its passengers to their fate. Some of the women, getting an opportunity, threw themselves into sea to save their honour while others committed suicide using knives and daggers.

The Christians were not as skilled in sword fight as the Muslims are….

When report of this incident reached the Emperor and the news-writers of Surat sent to the Court some rupees coined by the English in Bombay with the unholy name of their king struck on them along with some people who had actually suffered, he ordered the capture of the English trade agents

Page 421

Who were posted at the port of Surat. Orders were also issued to I’timad Khan, Mutasaddi of the port of Surat and Sidi Yaqut Khan to make plans for the capture of Bombay. The confusion thus created lasted for several years. The English were not prepared to accept the responsibility of this action, as they knew that Yaqut Khan was disheartened because of having been slighted on a previous occasion they became more active than usual in building bastions and walls and in blocking up roads, so that they made the place quite impregnable. I’timad Khan, the Mutasaddi of the port of Surat, in view of the strength of fortifications of Bombay, thought that the matter was irremediable [1]. In case of the outbreak of hostilities against the people using hats customs duties of the port of Surat would suffer a great loss. He considered himself one of the thrifty officers of the Emperor and did not want to waste a single pice. Although he had arrested some English gumashtas at Surat, secretly he was trying to avert the infamy (of possible defeat) of the English by negotiations. The English [P.424] on hearing about the imprisonment of their gumashtas captured in retaliation every Imperial mansabdar, about whom they heard, on the sea-coast or on water.

Khafi Khan in the fort of Bombay

During the hostilities, the writer of the narrative was acting as an agent of ‘Abd al-Razzaq at Surat. The armed followers of the Mutasaddi of Surat were in full control there. By a strange chance, the writer had an opportunity of meeting the English men from Bombay. I was going to Rahiri with two lakhs [2,00,000] of Rupees in cash and some goods purchased at Surat belonging to ‘Abd al-Razzaq, the fawjdar of Rahiri along with some Imperial stores. I was travelling by sea, and had to pass by the territories of the Portuguese and the English. When I reached near Bombay, and while still in Portuguese territory, I according to the written directions of ‘Abd al-Razzaq, had to wait there for

[1]: i.e. the Capture of Bombay, he thought, was not possible.

Page 422

The guard supplied by Yaqut Khan for ten or twelve days. As there existed an old friendship between the English and ‘Abd al-Razzaq since the days he was at Hayderabad, he had written to the English (commandant) also about the guard. He therefore sent the brother of his Diwan inviting me with sincerity to his presence. The Frankish (Portuguese) captain , and the men in my company, advised me against going there with so much wealth in my charge. The writer of these pages, having however, full trust in God went to the English. I told the brother of his Diwan that during the conversation,if an enquiry was made about the capture of the ship, I would not say things pleasing to them but would give true answers to the questions. The wakil of the English, who was trying his utmost to finish the hostilities, encouraged me and advised me to say every thing boldly and to speak nothing but the truth.

[P. 425] When I entered the fort, I observed that inside the gate from every start on each side of the route well dressed youths of the age of twelve or fourteen stood in rows with excellent muskets on their shoulders. A few steps further, well dressed young men, with beards just appearing and with muskets on their shoulders were seen on both sides. When I advanced a few steps further, I saw English men with long beards and of the same age furnished with similar equipment. After them were seen well dressed musketeers, with shaved beards arranged and drawn in up in ranks. Further on. English men, with white beards, clothed in brocade, and having muskets on their shoulders were seen on either side. Next I saw some handsome aged English men wearing hats with pearls on their borders. In short I saw thus, upto the door of the house in which he lived, nearly seven thousand musketeers drawn in ranks on both sides dressed and accoutred as for review.

I then reached the place where he was sitting on a chair. He preceded me in greetings in his own fashion. He rose from his chair and embraced me and asked me to sit down on a chair in front of him. Under the garb of asking the welfare of ‘Abd al-

Page 423

Razzaq and showing sincerity to him, the discourse turned upon different topics, pleasant and unpleasant, bitter and sweet; questions and answers were made. Of these questions one was about the cause of arrest of his agents. Trusting that God and His Prophet would protect me, I said in answer: “You do not take upon yourself the responsibility of the shameful deeds committed by your men, which are condemned by all sensible men. Your question resembles one raised by a wiseman who despite the rays of the sun all over the world, asks [P.426] where the light was coming from.” He replied: “The people who are hostile to us cast upon us the blame for the fault of others. How have you come to the conclusion that the crime was committed by our men and by what convincing evidence will you prove this?” I replied: “In the ship (Ganj-i-Sawa’i) I had acquaintances, some of whom were wealthy persons, besides two or three darwishes who were free the temptations of this world. I heard from them that at the time of plunder of the ship and of their arrest, there was a party of men, who appeared from their faces and dresses to be English men. They had scars of wounds on their bodies and hands and they said in their own language: ‘These are the scars of the wounds we received at the time of the siege of Sidi Yaqut; but today the blot of those scars have been wiped off our hearts (i.e. we have taken revenge).’ A person who was their fellow traveller and who knew Hindi and Persian, translated their words to my friends.”

On hearing my words, he burst out into laughter and said: “It is perfectly correct. They must have said so, but they are those English men who were wounded and taken prisoner by Yaqut Khan during the siege. Some of them deserted us, became Muslims and took service with that Abyssinian. They stayed with him for some time and fled away. As they could not show their faces to us, they went over to the men of Denkmar [1] also called Sakanas [2] and joined their service. They lay violent hands

[1]: Possibly Denmark

[2]: Possibly Saxon

Page 424

On the ships on the surface of the sea i.e. plunder them and have become their assistants in piracy. The officers of your Emperor are unable to successfully deal with them and therefore put responsibility for piracy upon our men.” I said in reply smilingly: “I have seen today what I had heard about your promptness in reply and your ready wit. All praise to your wisdom. You have given so reasonable and prompt reply in such a case without [P.427] spending a moment in thinking over it. You must however bear in mind that the hereditary rulers of Bijapur and Hayderabad, and Sambha, the accursed, could not escape from the hands of Alamgir [Aurangzeb]. The safety of the island of Bombay is evident!” I then said: “The coining of money in the form of rupees by you is a clear indication of your rebellion.” He replied: “We send every year, to our country, a large amount of money as profit on our mercantile goods. The coins of the Emperor of India are exchanged with loss. Besides this, there is considerable alloy and counterfeiting in Indian coins. Therefore quarrels break up at the time of sale and purchase in the Island. For this reason, I strike my name on the coins within my jurisdiction.”

Besides this, other matters were also discussed, some of which were not liked by him. However, due to his regard for ‘Abd al-Razzaq Khan and his promise to give me security he remained calm, and in accordance with their practice he showed hospitality and invited me to a farewell feast. But as it had been settled between us at the very outset, that no formalities would be observed, I contented myself with accepting ‘atr and pan and was glad to escape from that calamity.

The revenue of the island of Bombay most of which is derived from betel-nuts and cocoa-nuts, does not amount to more than two or three lakhs [2,00,000-3,00,000] of rupees. It is reported that the entire amount of trade of that wicked fellow is not more than twenty lakhs of rupees [20,00,000]. The source of the remaining unstable income of the English is the plunder and capture of the ships going to

The source of the remaining unstable income of the English is the plunder and capture of the ships going to The House of God.

Page 425

The House of God. At intervals of one or two years, they attack these ships, not at the time when loaded with grains. They proceed to Mukhkhah and Jeddah, but when they return bringing gold, silver, Ibrahimis[1] and Riyals they attack the richest one after obtaining secret information.

The Marhatas [P.428] have recently built new fortresses of Khanderi[2] (Kenery), Qulabah, Kansa and Katora opposite the island fortess belonging to the Abyssinians. They collect their war boats around their forts and attack the merchant ships whenever they find an opportunity. In the same way, the Sakanas, also called Bawarils, who are a lawless set of people belonging to Surat, in the Subah of Ahmedabad are notorious pirates. They attack from time to time, small ships coming from Bunder ‘Abbasi and Muscat. But they have not the courage to attack big ships plying on the route to Makkah. The English try to shift their ignomy to the shoulders of Sakanas.

[1]: The coins of Ibrahim Adil Shah

[2]: These are small islands near Janjirah

Why were the British minting silver coins instead of gold ones? As it turns out, the British had access to silver mines in the New World, and they were using cheap New World silver to buy the services of soldiers in India. This would gradually destroy the silver Indian Rupee with inflation (covered in my book). It is amusing to note that Khafi Khan, while being a regular Mughal official, is able to clearly discern the British as different from the other traders who operated in India. He clearly senses their tendency towards economic terrorism and while making note of the high standards of discipline their soldiers possess, also finds their leaders “wicked.” This would be an ominous portent for the upcoming colonizaton of India.

The following is a modern account of the incident, courtesy Wikipedia (abridged),

Every was elected admiral of the new six-ship pirate flotilla despite the fact that Captain Tew had arguably more experience, and now found himself in command of over 440 men while they lay in wait for the Indian fleet [1]. A convoy of twenty-five Mughal ships, including the enormous 1,600-ton Ganj-i-sawai of eighty cannons, and its escort, the 600-ton Fateh Muhammed, were spotted passing the straits of Bab el Mandeb en route to Surat in August 1695. Although the convoy had managed to elude the pirate fleet during the night, the pirates gave chase.

The Dolphin proved to be far too slow, lagging behind the rest of the pirate ships, so it was burned and the crew joined Every on the Fancy. The Amity and Susanna also proved to be poor ships: the Amity fell behind and never again rejoined the pirate squadron (Captain Tew having been killed in a battle with a Mughal ship), while the straggling Susanna eventually rejoined the group. The pirates caught up with the Fateh Muhammed four or five days later.[2] Perhaps intimidated by the Fancy’s forty-six guns or weakened by an earlier battle with Tew, the Fateh Muhammed’s crew put up little resistance; Every’s pirates then sacked the ship, which had belonged to one Abdul Ghaffar, reportedly Surat’s wealthiest merchant. In fact, Ghaffar was so powerful and wealthy, one associate described him as follows: “Abdul Ghafur, a Mahometan that I was acquainted with, drove a trade equal to the English East-India Company, for I have known him to fit out in a year, above twenty sail of ships, between 300 and 800 tons.”[3] While the Fateh Muhammed’s treasure of some £50,000 to £60,000 was enough to buy the Fancy fifty times over,[4] once the treasure was shared out among the pirate fleet Every’s crew received only small shares.[5]

Every now sailed in pursuit of the second Mughal ship, the Ganj-i-sawai (meaning “Exceeding Treasure,” and often Anglicized as Gunsway),[6] overtaking it a few days after the attack on the Fateh Muhammed. With the Amity and Dolphin left behind, only the Fancy, the Pearl, and the Portsmouth Adventure were present for the actual battle.[7]

The Ganj-i-sawai, captained by one Muhammad Ibrahim, was a fearsome opponent, mounting eighty guns and a musket-armed guard of four hundred, as well as six hundred other passengers. But the opening volley evened the odds, as Every’s lucky broadside shot his enemy’s mainmast by the board. With the Ganj-i-sawai unable to escape, the Fancy drew alongside. For a moment, a volley of Indian musket fire prevented the pirates from clambering aboard, but one of the Ganj-i-sawai’s powerful cannons exploded, instantly killing many and demoralizing the Indian crew, who ran below deck or fought to put out the spreading fires. Every’s men took advantage of the confusion, quickly scaling the Ganj-i-sawai’s steep sides. The crew of the Pearl, initially fearful of attacking the Ganj-i-sawai, now took heart and joined Every’s crew on Indian ship’s deck. A ferocious hand-to-hand battle now ensued, lasting two to three hours.[8] In any case, after several hours of stubborn but leaderless resistance, the ship surrendered. In his defense, Captain Ibrahim would later report that “many of the enemy were sent to hell.”[9] Indeed, Every’s outnumbered crew may have suffered anywhere from several to over a hundred casualties, granting these figures are uncertain.[10].

Although stories of brutality by the pirates have been dismissed by sympathizers as sensationalism, they are corroborated by the depositions Every’s men provided following their capture. John Sparkes testified in his “Last Dying Words and Confession” that the “inhuman treatment and merciless tortures inflicted on the poor Indians and their women still affected his soul,” and that, while apparently unremorseful for his acts of piracy, which were of “lesser concern,” he was nevertheless repentant for the “horrid barbarities he had committed, though only on the bodies of the heathen.”[11] Philip Middleton testified that several of the Indian men were murdered, while they also “put several to the torture” and Every’s men “lay with the women aboard, and there were several that, from their jewels and habits, seemed to be of better quality than the rest.”[12] Furthermore, on 12 October 1695, Sir John Gayer, then-governor of Bombay and president of the East India Company, sent a letter to the Lords of Trade, writing: “It is certain the Pyrates, which these People affirm were all English, did do very barbarously by the People of the Gunsway and Abdul Gofor’s Ship, to make them confess where their Money was, and there happened to be a great Umbraws Wife (as Wee hear) related to the King, returning from her Pilgrimage to Mecha, in her old age. She they abused very much, and forced severall other Women, which Caused one person of Quality, his Wife and Nurse, to kill themselves to prevent the Husbands seing them (and their being) ravished.[13]”

Later accounts would tell of how Every himself had found “something more pleasing than jewels” aboard, usually reported to be Emperor Aurangzeb’s daughter or granddaughter. (According to contemporary East India Company sources, the Ganj-i-sawai was carrying a “relative” of the Emperor, though there is no evidence to suggest that it was his daughter and her retinue.[14]) At any rate, the survivors were left aboard their emptied ships, which the pirates set free to continue on their voyage back to India. The loot from the Ganj-i-sawai, the greatest ship in the Muslim fleet, totaled somewhere between £200,000 and £600,000, including 500,000 gold and silver pieces. All told, it may have been the richest ship ever taken by pirates (see Career wealth below). All these things combined made Every the richest pirate in the world. The value of the Ganj-i-sawai’s cargo is not known with certainty. Contemporary estimates differed by as much as £300,000, with £325,000 and £600,000 being the traditionally cited numbers. The latter estimate was the value provided by the Mughal authorities, while the East India Company estimated the loss at approximately £325,000, nevertheless filing a £600,000 insurance claim.[15] If the larger estimate of £600,000 is taken, this would be equivalent to $400 million.

If the larger estimate of £600,000 is taken, the value of the Mughal ship’s cargo would be equivalent to $400 million today!

Notes:

[1]: Joel H. Baer. Pirates of the British Isles (London: Tempus Publishing, 2005) 99.

[2]: E. T. Fox. King of the Pirates: The Swashbuckling Life of Henry Every (London: Tempus Publishing, 2008) 73-79.

[3]: Jan Rogoziński. Honor Among Thieves: Captain Kidd, Henry Every, and the Pirate Democracy in the Indian Ocean (Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2000) 248.

[4]: Colin Woodard. The Republic of Pirates: Being the True and Surprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates and the Man Who Brought Them Down (Orlando, FL: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2007) 21.

[5]: Douglas R. Burgess. The Pirates’ Pact: The Secret Alliances Between History’s Most Notorious Buccaneers and Colonial America (New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2009) 136.

[6]: Tim Travers. Pirates: A History (London: Tempus Publishing, 2007) 41.

[7]: Jan Rogoziński. Honor Among Thieves: Captain Kidd, Henry Every, and the Pirate Democracy in the Indian Ocean (Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2000) 85.

[8]: Peter Earle. The Pirate Wars (NY: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2006) 117.

[9]: Joel H. Baer. Pirates of the British Isles (London: Tempus Publishing, 2005) 102.

[10]: E. T. Fox. King of the Pirates: The Swashbuckling Life of Henry Every (London: Tempus Publishing, 2008) 60, 79.

[11]: Charles Grey. Pirates of the Eastern Seas (1618–1723): A Lurid Page of History (London: Sampson Low, Marston & Co. 1933) 151.

[12]: Charles Grey. Pirates of the Eastern Seas (1618–1723): A Lurid Page of History (London: Sampson Low, Marston & Co. 1933) 151.

[13]: John Franklin Jameson.”Case of Henry Every,” Privateering and Piracy in the Colonial Period: Illustrative Documents (New York, NY: Macmillan Publishers, 1923) doc. no. 60; pp. 153–188. Retrieved 19 June 2010.

[14]: E. T. Fox. King of the Pirates: The Swashbuckling Life of Henry Every (London: Tempus Publishing, 2008) 80-81.

[15]: Douglas R. Burgess. The Pirates’ Pact: The Secret Alliances Between History’s Most Notorious Buccaneers and Colonial America (New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2009) 138.

The Aftermath

British proclamation for the arrest and capture of Henry Every.

Aurangzeb immediately ordered the closure of all East India Company factories in India (four were immediately closed). British subjects and officials were immediately arrested. He also ordered an armed attack on Bombay Castle again, with the aim of expelling the British from India once and for all [1]. The East India Company once again rushed to placate Aurangzeb, agreeing to pay all financial damages related to the incident. A bounty was put on Every’s head, and in British parliament, he was declared an enemy of the human race. A proclamation was issued by the Privy Council of Scotland on 18 August 1696 offering reward for his apprehension. The first ever international manhunt in Western history was launched by the British to apprehend him.

While Khafi Khan may have never known it, his personal intervention may have alarmed the British into distancing themselves as much as they could from Every. Khafi Khan had insider information that this act of piracy was directly connected to the Bombay Castle. And he did not hesitate to let the British commander of the Castle know that he would let his Mughal superiors know the same.

Sadly, Aurangzeb and the later Mughals could never dedicate themselves to extirpating the British from India after this incident. The Marathas were causing far more destruction to North Indian cities, and protecting these cities became the primary objective of Mughal military commanders. The Mughal Empire soon imploded due to an internal conspiracy attributed to shadowy groups that appear to be a wing of the Illuminati operating in the Islamic World for centuries. By the time the Mughals had recovered, the British had already dug their grave.

Notes:

[1]. John Keay. The Honourable Company: A History of the English East India Company (London: HarperCollins, 1991) 187.

The Coverup

The Jolly Roger, a symbol found on pirate flags, is also an occult symbol.

There are strong indications that organized piracy conducted by Western ships was the work of Illuminati families. They seemed to avoid targeting ships of the Illuminati owned East India Companies. The skull and crossed bones which became their most well-known insignia is an occult symbol, with the crossed bones similar to a rotated cross, representing the four directions taken by the Tribes of Israel. Later, this symbol would resurface as the symbol of the elite Yale Skull and Bones fraternity, which includes several American Presidents among its initiates. A similar symbol was seen worn by members of the Nazi SS paramilitary units. Christian Church figures and religious authorities never condemned the activities of European pirates.

Establishment historians have tried their best to portray Henry Every as a commoner, even though he may be linked to the Every baronets of Britain. The surname Avery often occurs in elitist circles and may be derived from Every. Interestingly, Henry Every started using the alias of Benjamin Bridgeman when he started piracy.

According to a ballad purportedly written by Henry Every himself sometime between May and July 1694 (one year before the incident), his pirate flag had four golden chevrons against a red background. According to a British Baronetcy history website,

Every, of Egginton.— Simon Every, who was created a baronet in 1641, was of a Somersetshire family: he settled at Egginton in this county in consequence of his marriage with Mary, elder daughter and coheir of Sir Henry Leigh. Sir Henry, the third baronet, married one of the coheiresses of Russel, of Strensham in Worcestershire, but left no issue either by her or by his second wife. His brother, Sir John Every the succeeding baronet, was a naval officer of some note in the reign of King William. Upon the death of his younger brother the Reverend Sir John Every, the seventh baronet, in 1779, the elder branch became extinct, and the title devolved to Mr. Edward Every, then of Derby, being the fourth in descent from Francis, third son of Sir Simon, the first baronet, which Francis was buried at Egginton in 1708; his son, Sir Henry, is the present baronet.

Arms:—Or, four chevronels, Gules.

Crest:—An unicorn’s head, couped, Proper.

Curzon, of Kedleston. See Lord Scarsdale.

As one can see, four Chevrons can be found in an official coat of arms of the Every baronets.

Another anonymous ballad runs like this,

For thirteen days aboard the Ganj, we made a merry sport
A thousand pounds of Mughal gold, and whisky, rum and port
Some men we shot and some we walked and some of them did hang
And while we made free with the girls, well this is what we sang:

Thirteen is a number associated with the Illuminati (There are thirteen families).

Every’s early years remain a mystery. There are indications that Every’s father was a trading captain who had served in the Royal Navy under Admiral Robert Blake, who is considered to be one of the most important British admirals of the 17th century. He is also considered one of the founders of British naval supremacy. Every did serve the Royal Navy in several important battles. After that, he was picking up slaves off the Guinea coast, and sometimes even tricking slave traders into being captured for slavery. When he began his pirate career, Every wrote a letter addressed to British ship commanders, asking them to make a particular flag-signal so that he could identify them as British. He guaranteed not to attack them. This affinity towards the East India Company, whose ships were carrying large amounts of wealth, is indeed strange.

It is still unclear how Every persuaded the rest of the pirate ships to leave the Mughal loot in his care while he quietly slipped out into the night on board the Fancy. The Fancy resurfaced in Bahamas. Despite the proclamation for the immediate arrest of Every, the British governor of Bahamas gave sanctuary to him, and later helped him destroy the Fancy by violently driving it against rocks. This was done in a futile attempt to cover-up Every’s presence in the British territory of Bahamas. When orders for Every’s arrest arrived in the Bahamas, he vanished.

There are indications that Every and twenty of his men returned to Britain around 1696 [1], and that he settled in Devon, dying in 1714 [2]. Some of these men were rounded up and executed, possibly to cover the link to Every. One of them, John Dann, recieved an official pardon and became a goldsmith-banker (Coggs & Dann), presumably with the loot. Every, and his loot were effectively hidden from history. What Every did to the Ganj-i-sawai would be repeated by the British Empire on a gargantuan scale. But this time victim was not a ship but the entire Indo-Islamic civilization.

Notes:

[1]: Jan Rogoziński. Honor Among Thieves: Captain Kidd, Henry Every, and the Pirate Democracy in the Indian Ocean (Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2000) 90.

[2]: George Francis Dow & John Henry Edmonds. The Pirates of the New England Coast 1630–1730. (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 1923) 348.

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The brutal shooting at point blank range of nine, unarmed Turkish activists on board the MV Mavi Marmara a humanitarian aid vessel, in international waters, by a thuggish squad of heavily armed Israeli commandos, is the recurrent leitmotif theme of the extremist, right-wing Likud Party that believes it can kill at will, anywhere, with impunity.

Eventually, the Israeli government was forced to apologise for the murders and pay compensation to those families involved. The damage caused to Israel was incalculable. Turkey broke off all relations with the Israeli state and anti-Semitism rose sharply throughout the world.

 

Prior to that shameful episode of murder on the high seas, former defence and prime minister, the huge Ariel Sharon, had bestrode the Middle East with a killer instinct that manifested itself in his documented complicity in the massacre at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in which troops under his control murdered some thousands of civilians.  Anti-Semitism rose sharply in response.

Then, in subsequent years, came the so-called ‘operations’ by the IDF against militants in Gaza as reprisals for rocket attacks by Hezbollah extremists. Again, thousands of Palestinian civilians were killed indiscriminately by blood-thirsty troops intent on causing maximum damage to the civilian population and infrastructure. The world watched and was horrified.  Anti-Semitism spiked throughout Europe.

As for the premiership of now convicted criminal, Ehud Olmert – the less said the better. Suffice to say that members of the Israel Defence Force are brainwashed to view all Arabs as inferior beings who should be oppressed in accordance with Likud Zionist dogma. In fact, Theodor Herzl, the founder of the Zionist Movement, believed in the equality of man but the Likud Party has deliberately distorted his ideals in its quest for regional domination.

Netanyahu himself remains undisturbed for it means an increasing exodus of European Jews – with, of course, their assets – to his own state. This unconcern for the safety of European Jewry is astonishing. The Israeli state continues with its policy of killing indigenous Palestinians, ad infinitum, with not a thought of the long- term, criminal implications for both the state of Israel and the Jewish Diaspora that is still home to the majority of Jews, today, and from which the entire population of Israel itself, originated.

The perverted conversion of ‘Jewish victims’ into ‘Israeli perpetrators’ is anathema to European society which is the primary reason that anti-Semitism has increased so alarmingly throughout Europe and beyond. Tragically, it is a genie that cannot now be put back in the bottle – and Netanyahu, his predecessors and collaborators are the ones ultimately responsible.  The detriment to Jewish communities worldwide is enormous.

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Making a spectacle out of the poor and working class is the newest trend from the mainstream media machine.

The BBC is currently casting for a new show that seeks to pit the unemployed and low-paid workers against one another to win a cash prize.

The contestants will be expected to ‘prove‘ themselves, much like those in Suzanne Collins‘ hit series The Hunger Games. A representative from the production company elaborated and stated that ‘people will be put to the test in a series of challenges and tasks’.

Watch a video of this report here:

The poster promoting the casting of the show (Independent)

The representative went on to say that ‘those who have produced the least will be eliminated‘, which is particularly frightening in austerity-stricken Britain where cuts to healthcare are truly eliminating people’s lives.

The winner will apparently receive £15,000 ($23,000), which is roughly equal to a year’s living wage; well, at least it would be outside of London.

Channel 4 show Benefits Street popularized ‘poverty porn’ (Independent)

Will we need to wait much longer before we are back to gladiatorial arenas with people fighting to the death to earn a living?

Perhaps the production company could have, instead, invested in a show that sought to get low-paid workers into high paying jobs – a real prize – instead of this Hunger Games style spectacle.

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Image: Author Max Blumenthal.

Max Blumenthal has a book coming out on the Gaza onslaught of last summer, called The 51 Day War, and it’s just gotten a rave review in Publishers Weekly:

Blumenthal’s (Republican Gomorrah) latest is a heart-wrenching narrative of being caught in the middle of wartime…. Blumenthal, who was on the ground for part of the offensive, bore witness to the loss of life, shelter, and possessions—but never hope—among Gaza’s Palestinian residents. His experiences in Gaza shed valuable light on the miserable living conditions there, while also fueling Blumenthal’s rebuttal to defenses of the strikes as justifiable responses to terrorism. He portrays Israel’s response as vastly disproportionate, particularly emphasizing the toll on Palestinian economic development. While vividly recounting firsthand experience and interviews with Gaza residents, Blumenthal also carefully charts the ascension of the right wing in Israeli politics and offers a jaundiced eye on the maneuvers of the Israeli government. The result is a harrowing, transfixing narrative of a people’s ordeal that will provoke and challenge any reader more accustomed to pro-Israel perspectives.

His book also got blurbs from Reza Aslan, Juan Cole, Avraham Burg, Pat Lang and Noura Erakat. Covering the waterfront!

But Blumenthal’s last book, the incisive Goliath, which bore witness to the rise of a militantly racist, right wing political culture in Israel, was virtually blacked out by American mainstream media. Chris Hedges and Andrew Sullivan got the story, but Eric Alterman attacked it in the Nation of all places, followed by Alan Dershowitz; and Terry Gross, who had interviewed Blumenthal when he went after Republicans in his first book “refused to have me on,” Blumenthal told Alex Kane, “and a lot of other hosts have just basically helped stitch the fabric of this curtain of silence.”

The New York Times in particular ignored the book. Even as the book went into a second printing. Even as the Israeli people confirmed Blumenthal’s reporting by going to the polls and electing the most reactionary government in Israeli history.

That blackout really ought to end. As it is, the Times is playing into its own irrelevance here. It runs happy-talk accounts of Israel’s willingness to talk peace, its chief correspondent claims that only a “small strain” in Israeli society wants to hold on to the West Bank– and meantime, practically every minister in government has declared Israel’s alleged right to Palestinian land and its new Foreign Ministry boss states on Facebook that it’s time for Israel to redraw the borders of Palestine.

This is Max Blumenthal’s great strength as an observer of the conflict. He and I have frequently disagreed about how bad things are; I’ve resisted his message, saying it can’t be that bad, Max.  But he’s been right time and again; he has a more accurate record than anyone else when it comes to predictions of the slope of Israel’s spiritual/political decline. He has never been taken in by the liberal Zionist propaganda, i.e., by an unconscious tribal identification with Ashkenazi elites; he’s bravely documented the currents of intolerance and fascism in that society going back five years to when he and Joseph Dana reported “Feeling the Hate in Jerusalem” and the American media suppressed it. It’s time Blumenthal’s view is engaged; it’s irresponsible not to engage it. Go ahead, take him on, disagree with him. But give him a platform. That’s the news from Publishers Weekly.

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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Only a few weeks into Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government, the intense strain of trying to square its members’ zealotry with Israel’s need to improve its international standing is already starkly evident.

The conundrum was laid out clearly by Tzipi Hotovely, a young political ally of Netanyahu’s recently appointed to oversee the foreign ministry on his behalf.

She called together the country’s chief diplomats last week to cite rabbinical justifications for taking Palestinian land. Her broader message was that Israeli embassies abroad needed to stop worrying about being “smart” and concentrate instead on being “right”. Urging the country’s envoys into a headlong confrontation with the world community, she told them the “basic truth” was: “All the land is ours.”

Netanyahu is too experienced a politician to take Hotovely’s advice fully to heart himself. Having briefly spoken his mind to ensure he won the recent general election, he has now walked back a comment much criticised by the White House that he would never permit a Palestinian state.

Damage control was also the reason he quickly cancelled defence minister Moshe Yaalon’s plan to create separate buses for Jewish settlers and Palestinian labourers as they return to the occupied territories at the end of a day in Israel.

Unlike most in his cabinet, Netanyahu understood that, denied by his military of even the flimsiest security pretext, the historical antecedents of bus segregation were too uncomfortable, especially for Israel’s patron, the United States.

The graver danger for Netanyahu is that, stuck with a cabinet of the like-minded – of ultranationalists, settlers and religious extremists – he lacks a solitary fig leaf to soften his image with the international community.

In his two previous governments, he relied on such sops: Ehud Barak, his defence minister, followed by Tzipi Livni as justice minister became the sympathetic address in the Israeli cabinet craved by Washington and Europe. Both spoke grandly about Palestinian statehood, even while they did nothing to achieve it.

With no veteran of the peace-process to hand, the west now faces an Israeli foreign ministry led jointly by Hotovely and Dore Gold, appointed director-general this week. Gold, a long-time hawkish adviser to the prime minister, is deeply opposed to Palestinian statehood, and even floated two years ago the idea of annexing the West Bank.

The minister in charge of talks with the Palestinians – hypothetical though such a role is at the moment – is Silvan Shalom, another Netanyahu intimate who publicly rejects the idea of two states and supports aggressive settlement building.

Other key ministries affecting Palestinian life are similarly burdened with righteous – and outspoken – extremists.

Shortly before announcing his bus segregation plan, Yaalon suggested that Israel, in dealing with Iran, might ultimately follow the example set at the end of the Second World War by the US, as it dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Yaalon’s deputy, Eli Ben Dahan, a leading settler rabbi, refers to Palestinians as “sub-human”.

Ayelet Shaked, who spoke in genocidal terms against Palestinians in Gaza last summer, calling them “snakes”, now oversees Israel’s justice system, the sole – and already feeble – form of redress for Palestinians struggling against the occupation’s worst excesses.

Other ministers are no less dogmatic in their fanatical opposition both to Israel signing an agreement with the Palestinians and to the US signing one with Iran. The self-evident absurdity of diplomacy in these circumstances may be one reason why Tony Blair, the already deeply ineffective Middle East peace envoy, threw in the towel this week.

Similarly, Barack Obama is certain to find the new Israeli government an even bigger headache than Netanyahu’s previous two.

While the US tries to reach a deal on Iran’s nuclear programme and revive peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel – however futile such a process may be – Israeli ministers will be in a contest to see who can make most mischief.

Netanyahu, already an unloved figure at the White House, will now find no one across the Israeli cabinet table helping him to apply the brakes.

The irony is that, just as the White House gears up for another 18 months of humiliation and sabotage from Netanyahu and his government, Obama is showering Israel with gifts, as part of its long-standing “security” doctrine.

Last week, it was reported, the US agreed to provide Israel with $2 billion worth of arms, including bunker-buster bombs and thousands of missiles, to replenish stockpiles depleted by Israel’s sustained attack on Gaza last summer that killed more than 2,000 Palestinians.

The news broke just as United Nations officials reported that unexploded ordnance was still claiming lives in Gaza nearly a year later.

According to the Israeli media, the US is also preparing to “compensate” Israel with other goodies, including possibly more fighter planes, if Netanyahu agrees to restrain his criticisms over an expected deal with Iran in June.

And Washington averted last week a threat to Israel’s large, undeclared nuclear arsenal by blocking the efforts of Arab states to convene a conference to make the Middle East free of nuclear weapons by next year.

The lesson drawn by Netanyahu should be clear. Obama may signal verbally his disquiet with the current Israeli government, but he is not about to exact any real price from Israel, even as it shifts ever further to the fanatical right.
 
Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is www.jonathan-cook.net.
 
A version of this article first appeared in the National, Abu Dhabi.

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Golden Silences in the U.S. Propaganda System

May 29th, 2015 by Edward S. Herman

Image: Thousands of bodies lie on the ground after the Kibelho Massacre, photo by George Gittoes

Propaganda shapes the flow of information  in many different ways, including, obviously,  the choice  of the news fit to print, its placement, and the selection of  authorities to make those facts credible. But equally important, and implicit in news choices, especially where there are political interests at stake and possible varying interpretations of the news, is omitting facts and ignoring sources that call the chosen (often official) perspective into question. Such Golden Silences and bypassing of inconvenient sources is incompatible with honest journalism but is standard operating procedure in mainstream journalism, with variations mainly in severity and depth of  burial of the awkward facts. These latter are often not completely hidden but put so deep in an article and in such cautious or qualifying language as to be effectively buried or suppressed.

This is dramatically illustrated when we compare the treatment of “worthy” and “unworthy” victims, categories that Noam Chomsky and I stressed in Manufacturing Consent. (Chapter 2 is entitled “Worthy and Unworthy Victims”). Worthy victims are victims of enemy and target states, whereas unworthy victims are killed by us or one of our allies or clients. We gave details on the huge media attention to the murder of a Polish priest in Communist Poland in 1984, a single worthy victim who, as we showed, got more U.S. media attention than 100 religious victims of U.S. client states in Latin America (1965-1985), taken together. The latter were treated as unworthy by virtue of the client status of the killers, although eight of the 100 were actually U.S. citizens.

Rwanda has provided a stream of cases of worthy and unworthy victimhood. Paul Kagame and his Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) were (and remain) U.S. clients serving U.S. power-projection aims in the Great Lakes region of Africa. He has therefore had a free hand to kill, which he has done so lavishly  in both Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), that his victim toll runs into the millions (see Herman and Peterson, Enduring Lies: The Rwanda Genocide in the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later, Real News Books, 2014. chaps 4 and 9). His  killings of  this vast number of  unworthy victims have been given the Golden Silence treatment, and he has been portrayed in the United States, Britain, and Canada as a savior against “Hutu Power” violence, a genuine miracle of  successful upside-down propaganda. In September 1994, after Kagame had won his war of conquest in Rwanda, a State Department memo indicated that Kagame’s forces were killing Hutu civilians at the rate of  some 10,000 per month. This memo had no effect on Kagame-supportive U.S. policy and was never picked up by the mainstream media. Imagine what would have happened if such a memo had described the behavior of the Iranian, North Korean, Russian or Venezuelan governments!

Another Golden Silence on Rwanda was displayed this past month, with the 20th anniversary of the massacre at Kibelho, a Hutu refugee camp in south Rwanda. This took place mainly between April 19 and 23, 1995 but continued somewhat later as refugees fled the camp. This was long after the Rwanda Patriotic Front had conquered Rwanda, but with many displaced  Hutu still housed in refugee camps, perhaps as many as 100.000 in Kibelho. The Kagame government decided to close this and other refugee camps and force the refugees to return to their home towns. This was accompanied by a slaughter, by  gunfire, grenades, mortars, and artillery,  watched in horror by a contingent of  32 UN-assigned Australian medics and soldiers. Australian Terry Pickard wrote in his memoir Combat Medic:

“We could only hope the RPA [Rwandan Patriotic Army] would let us leave after what we had just witnessed. They had just murdered thousands of unarmed, starving, thirsty and helpless men, women and children. Even babies had not been spared. Some of those who had survived the lethal onslaught of 50 caliber machine guns, AK47 rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars were ruthlessly hunted down and bayoneted to death where they lay injured.”

The Australians tried to save some Hutu, but were forced by numbers and UN rules mainly to merely observe. A photo taken by one of them shows a vast field of dead bodies, and in the aftermath, at UN instruction some of them went out with pace-counters to count the dead bodies. They reached 4,000  and felt that they had covered less than half of the killing toll when their count was called off by RPF pressure.. Several of them estimated that the full count would run to 8,000 or more (See Hugh Riminton. “Rwandan massacre still a burden for Diggers,” Herald Sun [Australia]. April 20, 2015).. The UN, however, eventually put out an estimate of 2,000.  This  lower estimate was preferred by the mainstream media. The New York Times, for example,  repeated the phrase “as many as 2,000” in their modest news and editorial coverage throughout April  and May 1995.

This massacre, like the September 1994 slaughter memo,   had no effect on U.S. or UN policy toward the Rwandan government and has essentially disappeared from Rwandan history in the West, except in Australia. With the twentieth anniversary of the Kibelho massacre on April 22, 2015 (the biggest killing day), there was not one article or editorial on that event in the U.S. or UK mainstream media. This was clearly Golden Silence territory, with Kagame still a U.S. client and celebrated in the West as a savior of Rwanda, an African “Abe Lincoln” in Philip Gourevitch’s warped vision. Only in Australia, where the Medic team had suffered  as helpless observers of the mass killing, were there a number of media accounts of the Kibelho events.. Several of these were moving and dramatic (e.g., reports entitled “The killings just went on and on;” “Our time in hell on earth;” books like Kevin O’Halloran, Pure Murder and Paul Jordan, The Easy Day Was Yesterday); but the drama and authenticity of these reports could not breach the Golden Silence in the United States.

It is notable that the estimated possibly 8,000 or more at Kibelho is the same as the mainstream’s oft-repeated number for victims of the Srebrenica massacre, which took place in the same year and only a few months after Kibelho (from July 11, 1995 on). Of course a profound difference in the two cases is that the Srebrenica massacre was carried out by  Bosnian Serbs, who, along with the Milosevic government of Serbia, were declared villains and targets of the United States and NATO.  It follows that the Srebrenica victims were worthy and that the U.S.-NATO-dominated UN and its arm the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) would pursue the villains responsible for the massacre. And the mainstream media of the West would regularly feature this episode, with July 11th of each year a time to remind Western publics of the horrors of the Srebrenica massacre, with articles about it and photos showing graves and grieving family members, and reiterating the lesson to be learned on the need for early and vigorous humanitarian intervention.

There is also a propensity to inflate the numbers of worthy victims at Srebrenica, in contrast with the treatment of the number of unworthy victims at Kibelho, which as noted  was quickly reduced by the UN and media from possibly 8,000 or more to  “as many as 2,000.” With Srebrenica, although body counts have never supported a figure of 8,000 executed, that number was produced early and has been maintained up to the present as an act of faith and for its political serviceability (one can never have too many worthy victims).

The high Srebrenica executions toll has also been helped by other bits of Golden Silence methodology. One is the burying of the fact that many bodies recovered in Eastern Bosnia-Herzegovina were almost surely of men killed in combat, which raged in the Srebrenica vicinity and beyond from around July 11 for some days thereafter as several thousand Bosnian Muslim soldiers of their 28th division fled the town and tried to reach Muslim safe territory at Tuzla. In a  study of the forensic reports produced by ICTY experts  on the  1,920 bodies in 20 mass graves exhumed between 1996 and 2001, forensic analyst Ljubisa Simic showed convincingly that the injuries in at least half of the cases point to combat deaths. In a coup of Western propaganda, however, these combat deaths are ignored and all bodies found in the vicinity are taken as victims of execution.

The task of getting the numbers of victims up to that long-standing target of 8,000 has turned more recently to the DNA identification of bodies. A figure of 6,924  is the July  2014 total put forward by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) based on this methodology. Apart from the fact that this Commission is not truly “international” but is dominated by the United States and Bosnian Muslim authorities, those offering this new claim have refused to allow its methodology to be checked and verified by independent and defense analysts. And while   the forensic data on bodies allows some limited judgments on the cause and possible time of death, .DNA tells us nothing on these matters or anything about the place of its occurrence.

The main witness for the ICTY on the Srebrenica massacre was an alleged participant, the Croatian Drazen Erdemovic. He was badly compromised by a mercenary background, the circumstances of his participation in the killings, and contradictions in testimony, but he was willing to implicate high Bosnian Serb authorities and hence was protected by the ICTY prosecutors and judges and kept almost completely free of serious cross-examination. A compelling study of Erdemovic’s history, role, and protection by the ICTY was written by the journalist Germinal Civikov (Srebrenica: The Star Witness [Belgrade, 2010]). This is a devastating critique of the man and the ICTY, but although copies were made available to mainstream Western media, including  Marlise Simons of the New York Times, this book was given the full Golden Silence treatment.

Another element of Golden Silence as regards Srebrenica is the blackout of  background facts that would make ruthless Serb treatment of prisoners comprehensible. Although Srebrenica was a Security Council designated “safe area” protected from attack, that designation also required that it be disarmed. This did not happen, and from 1992 into July 1995, incursions by Bosnian Muslim cadres, led primarily by local commander Naser Oric, attacked many Serb inhabited towns and killed several thousand Serb civilians.. Lt. Colonel Thomas Karremans, who commanded the Dutch battalion in Srebrenica in 1995, stated on July 23, 1995 that “We know that in the area surrounding the Srebrenica enclave alone, 192 villages were razed to the ground and all the villagers killed.” UN Sarajevo Commander Philippe Morillon was asked directly by Judge Patrick Robinson of the ICTY, whether what happened in Srebrenica in July 1995 “was a direct reaction to what Naser Oric did to the Serbs two years before?” To which Morillon replied,”Yes your honor, I am convinced of that.” This was not picked up in the mainstream U.S. media.(For a fuller account, see George Bogdanich,”Prelude to  the Capture of Srebrenica,” in Herman, ed., The Srebrenica Massacre: Evidence, Context, Politics [Alphabet Soup, 2011[). In short, the background context, interfering as it did with the demonization process and U.S.-NATO war plans,  was ignored by the mainstream media.

It is not that the media black out history in every case. In fact, in connection with the recent Baltimore police killing and riots an editorial in the New York Times was entitled “What Came Before Baltimore’s Riots” (April 29, 2015) . Here the editors’ liberal policy stance made a focus on context and root causes permissible. With Srebrenica the demonization and  regime change agenda disallowed balance and inconvenient context. This is commonplace in mainstream media coverage of foreign policy, and is dramatically evident in the treatment of the demonized Putin and the Ukraine conflict. where a Russian expert like Stephen Cohen, who wants to talk about the Russian-NATO background and root causes, cannot get as much opinion or news space as  the Russian  Pussy Riot members, who want to denounce Putin.

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A Critique of the U.S. “Grand Strategy toward China”

May 29th, 2015 by Prof. James Petras

“We will have a very strong (military) presence, very strong continued posture throughout the region to back our commitments to our allies, to protect and work with our partners and to continue ensuring peace and stability in the region, as well as back our diplomacy vis-à-vis China on the South China Sea”. -David Shear, US Department of Defense’s Assistant Secretary for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs.

Indian President Modi “seals $22 billion of deals on China visit . . . China had already promised $20 billion of infrastructure investment during (Chinese President) Xi’s visit to India last year”. -Financial Times (5/18/165, p. 4)

Introduction

The highly influential Council on Foreign Relations recently published a Special Report entitled, “Revising US Grand Strategy toward China”, (Council on Foreign Relations Press: NY 2015), co-authored by two of its Senior Fellows, Robert Blackwill and Ashley Tellis (‘B and T’), which proposes a re-orientation of US policy toward China. The Report a policy for buttressing ‘US primacy in Asia’ and countering what they describe as “the dangers that China’s geo-economic and military power pose to US national interests in Asia and globally”.  The Report concludes by listing seven recommendations that Washington should follow to re-assert regional primacy.

This essay begins by discussing the basic fallacies underpinning   the Report, including outdated and dangerous presumptions about US power and presence in Asia today, and the authors’ incoherent, contradictory and unrealistic prescriptions.

Mistaken Assumptions about Past and Present US Policies to China

Blackwill and Tellis (‘B and T’) start out with the preposterous claim that contemporary US policy toward China has been driven by its positive “effort to ‘integrate’ China into the liberal international order”.  This is a gross misrepresentation of Washington’s past and current efforts to subvert the Chinese Communist government and to undermine its state- directed transition to capitalism.

 Ever since the end of the Second World War, and especially since the Chinese Civil War (1945-49), which brought the Chinese Communist Party to power, the US has poured billions of dollars in military aid to the retreating Nationalist regime and to finance the bloody Korean War (1950-53) – with the open goal of overthrowing the Chinese communist government.  When US forces briefly reached the Chinese-Korean border, provoking a Chinese response, Washington threatened to unleash nuclear weapons on the Chinese.  For the next two decades, the US maintained a naval and air embargo against the world’s most populous state, an insane policy which was only reversed by President Nixon’s re-establishment of diplomatic and commercial relations in 1973.

When the veteran Chinese leader, Deng Xiaoping embarked on a state-managed transition to capitalism, Washington adopted a two-track policy of encouraging China’s rulers to ‘open their markets’ to US multi-national corporations, while financing and backing pro-US liberal activists seeking to overthrow the Communist government (the so-called Tiananmen Square Uprising) as well as the secessionist Tibetan and Uyghur insurgencies in western China.

Far from trying “to integrate China into the liberal international order”, Washington attempted to replicate the decade-long chaotic and destructive “transition to capitalism” which took place with the dissolution of the USSR under Mikhail Gorbachev.  During the disastrous US-backed regime of Russian President Boris Yeltsin – the ‘lost decade’ (1990-1999) – living standards for the average citizen plunged 70% and Russia was transformed from an advanced superpower to a ravaged vassal state.  Beijing’s rulers took careful stock of the grotesque pillage of the former USSR and rejected US plans to replicate their ‘Russian success’ and integrate China as a vassal state within the international capitalist system.

Washington’s sanctions and boycott policy, following the defeat of its Tiananmen Square proxies, was of no avail:  Washington failed to stop the massive influx of US multinational corporations into China.  Its punitive measures had no impact on China’s political stability and unprecedented economic growth.

Washington’s policy supporting China’s entry into the World Trade Organization encouraged China to open up to US investors, but US policy makers did not understand how the Chinese state’s carefully calibrated mix of dependence on foreign capitalist investment and technology with their adoption, assimilation, and autonomous expansion of  endogenous Chinese expertise would create a such a massive independent economic superpower.

Washington’s ‘penetration and conquest strategy’, dubbed by B and S as its ‘integration into the international order’, ultimately failed, despite frequent attempts to undermine the Chinese state regulations and controls on foreign capital.  The US’ efforts to subordinate (“integrate”) China into its burgeoning Asian empire was unsuccessful.

During this period, China expanded into world markets, harnessing Western capital to its national goals. It borrowed and improved on US technology to develop a high growth model, exceeding the US growth rate by 600%!

For over two decades, China grew exponentially, accumulating hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign reserves, while the US economy ran-up monstrous trade deficits with Beijing.  The US had embarked on a series of prolonged wars while converting its economy from productive to finance capitalism and needed to borrow vast sums from China in the form of sales of Treasury notes or face a major domestic financial crisis.

In essence (and not noted by ‘B and T’), China ‘integrated’ into the international economic order as a productive, creditor state, at the same time the US was reduced to financial–debtor status and lost its global economic primacy while pursuing its unpopular wars in the Middle East.

It was not the ‘failure’ of liberal US market policies that propelled China forward to primacy in Asia, as ‘B and T’ argue in their essay, but Washington’s multi-trillion-dollar wars in South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa and its wholesale conversion to Wall Street speculation, which caused the US to lose its primacy in Asia.  ‘B and T’s’ claim that US ‘market liberalism’ helped China to emerge as the economic superpower in Asia is a flimsy pretext for ignoring real causes and now promoting an even greater level of US militarism in the region.   Unfortunately, their muddle-headed diagnoses and militarist proposals strongly influence the Obama Administrations policy decisions!

Blackwill and Tellis’s unwillingness to recognize China’s peaceful rise to economic supremacy in Asia leads them to rely on a purely ideological construct to bolster their militaristic argument for intensifying “the US naval and air presence in the South and East China Seas and accelerating the US ballistic-missile defense (sic) posture” in the Pacific.  ‘B and T’s a priori ideological presumptions lead them to declare that “China is a danger to US Asian interests”, ignoring elementary Chinese vital national interests in having open and secure access to vital waterways leading to their Asian markets and sources of raw materials.  At no point does ‘B and T’ identify a single move implemented by China, which has threatened the open seaways.  Nor do they identify a single overt or covert threat by China toward the US.  While ‘B and T’ fantasize about China’s military threats, they suffer a severe case of amnesia with regard to overt US attacks, invasions, and occupations of China’s Asian neighbors. Over a dozen such military assaults have been launched by Washington in the region, which ‘B and T’ conveniently . . . omit.

‘B and T’s evocation of a “China threat” is a crude ploy to justify further US military encirclement of China, in line with their policy recommendations.  The US has recently dispatched B-1 bombers and surveillance planes to Australia and threatens to attack China’s base and port construction on its off-shore shoals and island territories. Equally ominous, US officials arrested a visiting Chinese academic attending a conference claiming he was part of a plot stealing ‘dual purpose’ high tech secrets.

Contradictions and Incoherence of B and T Policy Recommendations

B and T policy recommendations for securing US primacy in Asia are contradictory and incoherent.  For example, they recommend that the US “revitalize the economy” and promote “robust growth” as a first priority, but then demand a “substantial increase” in the enormous US military budget.  They advocate limits on the sale of civilian technology (so-called “dual” use) and the exclusion of China from US-sponsored Asian trade networks like the ‘Trans-Pacific Partnership’ (TPP).

Most experts openly acknowledge that the huge US ten-trillion dollar military spending over the past two decades has destroyed any possibility for ‘robust growth’ of the US economy.  ‘B and T’s recommendations for even more military spending can only make matters worse by diverting public and private capital away from economic growth.  This is what undermines the United States strategic future in Asia!

‘B and T’ advise Washington “to expand Asian trade networks” . . . by excluding China . . .  the largest investment site and market for the leading ‘500’ US multi-national corporations!  In fact, when Obama, in line with ‘B and T’ recommendations, loudly refused to participate in the Chinese-sponsored ‘Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, all of the US major Asian “partners”, except Japan, ignored Washington and joined the AIIB!  China is unquestionably the leading economic partner for all Asian countries and none of the bellicose rhetoric that ‘B and T’ spout is going to erode those essential realities.

In fact ‘B and T’s proposal to eliminate ongoing trade with China of so-called ‘dual purpose’ technological exports will further isolate the US from its much-ballyhooed ‘Asian partners’ who are especially eager to ‘add value’ to their exports.  In sum, ‘B and T’s recommendations to US policy makers will guarantee an anemic, not a ‘robust’, growth.

B and T proposals are guided by a strictly military logic, contrary to advancing US trade networks.

B and T (and the Obama regime) propose “to reinforce” what they call the Indo-Pacific partnership via a “build-up (of) the power-political capabilities of its friends and allies on China’s periphery”.  Whatever ‘B and T’ meant by “power-political capabilities” they certainly did not take into consideration India’s drive for economic development and long-term, large-scale investment and trade agreements.   In terms of trade and development deals, the meager results on the heels of Obama’s recent visit to India demonstrate just how shallow the administration’s policy towards the subcontinent really is.

The Indo-Chinese economic and development partnership far surpassed in size and scope any of the vacuous proposals put forth by ‘B and T’ to the Obama Administration.  In mid-May 2015, Indian President Modi signed a $22 billion-dollar business deal with China on top of the massive $20-billion dollar Chinese infrastructure investment agreement in 2014.  $42 billion-dollars of Chinese investment and trade deals with India have pulled the rug out from under any Obama regime plans to enlist India into its anti-China campaign and military provocations.  The reality of Indian-Chinese economic deals shows just how absurd ‘B and T’ policy recommendations are.

President Modi put the ‘nail’ in the coffin of ‘B and T’s, “US Grand Strategy toward China” in his last speech in China after his most successful visit:  “I strongly believe that this century belongs to Asia”.  Lest it be thought by any other Kissinger protégé, (Blackwill is a Henry Kissinger Senior Fellow), that the deepening Indo-China relation is a mere passing phenomenon, their agreements involve the most advanced sectors of their economies, including telecommunication and energy, as well as the development of a solar photovoltaic industrial park.

As for B and T’s proposal to block ‘dual use’ technology transfers to China, the Indian government has openly rejected that line of unreason by calling on countries to accelerate technology transfers.

‘B and T’ and the entire crowd of ‘armchair war-mongers’ at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) have misread the most basic economic developments of our time.  US economic growth is becoming increasingly dependent on large-scale, long-term foreign capital inflows from ‘emerging economies’ – especially China!  Developing Asian nations accounted for $440 billion in outward investment, greater than North America or Europe , as the largest source for foreign direct investment.  China’s $266 billion dollars accounted for most outgoing FDI from Asia.

China’s importance as a source of investment can only expand, especially through its newly-founded ‘Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank’ (AIIB) and its plans to promote the multi-billion Silk Road linking Beijing through Central Asia to European markets. China’s financial role is going to be crucial in the new BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) bank – developed to counter the IMF.

Nothing that the Obama regime and its advisers from the Council on Foreign Relations have proposed can possibly ‘balance’ the rise of China, because their policies include the boycott of large-scale, long-term Chinese economic initiatives which Washington’s ‘allies’ are eager to join.   Virtually all have rushed to sign up with the AIIB leaving a sour-faced Obama Administration totally isolated.  The Council on Foreign Relations’ proposal for Obama to form anti-Chinese ‘networks with its allies’ is pointless when such hostile ‘networks’ are clearly not going to undermine their most lucrative economic deals with China.

After running through a laundry list of hostile policies toward China, based on a strategy of escalating military encirclement, ‘B and T’ conclude their essay with a bizarre call for Washington to “energize high level diplomacy with Beijing” and do “everything it can to avoid a confrontation with China”.

This piece of ‘expert’ idiocy could only have been written by a former lecturer from the Harvard Kennedy School.

Policies designed to surround China with US military installations and naval vessels, threaten China’s vital maritime routes.   Measures to restrict the sale of ‘dual use’ (civilian) technology and efforts to build hostile regional networks and military partnerships are hardly conducive to ‘energizing high level diplomacy with Beijing.  ‘B and T’s proposals and Obama’s policies are designed to confront, provoke and undermine China.  That is one very obvious reason why China pursues such favorable economic agreements with its neighbors.

‘B and T’ policy proposals are doomed to fail because the US has not and cannot match China’s robust economic growth.   Washington cannot compete with Beijing’s open and flexible large-scale economic agreements with all Asian countries (except the US vassal Japan).

Most Asian powers have rejected the ideological message peddled by the Obama Administration that China is a danger.  They see China as a partner, a source of capital and easy financing for vital projects without the onerous ‘conditions’ that the US controlled IMF imposes.  They are not interested in big, wasteful spending on costly weapons systems pushed by US war industries and which have no productive value.

An Alternative “Grand Strategy toward China”

If one were to propose a realistic and reasonable ‘US Grand Strategy toward China’ one would have to start by shedding all the false assumptions and bellicose proposals that have been put forth by the CFR and the authors of the Report under review.

First and foremost, the US would have to give up its self-appointed role as global policeman, reallocate its bloated Pentagon budget to finance vital domestic economic development, while rebalancing the US economy away from Wall Street speculation in the FIRE (finance, insurance real estate) sector, to producing goods, providing quality services and financing long-overdue infrastructure development projects.

Secondly, Washington would have to expand and promote long-term, large-scale exports of its advanced technology to compensate for the loss of low value exports.

Thirdly, it would join with China in its new infrastructure bank, securing contracts via aid packages.  Washington would have to look at China’s export of capital as an opportunity to improve the US’s deteriorating infrastructure. Washington would have to increase and expand its cyber-technical ties with China via joint ventures. Washington would need to replace its military bases surrounding China with industrial parks, commercial ports and regional ‘Silicon Valleys’ and promote co-operative ventures that allow the US to ride the wave of Chinese dynamism.  Since the US cannot (and should not) curtail or compete with China’s growth it should join them and share it.

The US should not attempt to block China’s growth and expansion; it should assist and share in its ascendancy, especially in the face of great global climate and energy challenges.  Washington is much more likely to strengthen its Asian – Pacific partnership and succeed in its diplomacy if it replaced its military posturing with robust economic growth.

James Petras latest books include: James Petras and Henry Veltmeyer (2014), Extractive Imperialism in the Americas: Capitalism’s New Frontier, published by Brill (Leiden/Boston) (Studies in Critical Social Sciences Series). James Petras (2014), The Politics of Empire: The US, Israel and the Middle East, published by Clarity Press, Atlanta.

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Il Califfato voluto dagli Usa

May 29th, 2015 by Manlio Dinucci

Men­tre lo Stato isla­mico occupa Ramadi, la seconda città dell’Iraq, e il giorno dopo Pal­mira nella Siria cen­trale, ucci­dendo migliaia di civili e costrin­gen­done alla fuga decine di migliaia, la Casa Bianca dichiara: «Non ci pos­siamo strap­pare i capelli ogni volta che c’è un intoppo nella cam­pa­gna con­tro l’Isis» (The New York Times, 20 maggio).

La cam­pa­gna mili­tare, «Inhe­rent Resolve», è stata lan­ciata in Iraq e Siria oltre nove mesi fa, l’8 ago­sto 2014, dagli Usa e loro alleati: Fran­cia, Gran Bre­ta­gna, Canada, Austra­lia, Ara­bia Sau­dita, Emi­rati Arabi Uniti, Bah­rain e altri. Se aves­sero usato i loro cac­cia­bom­bar­dieri come ave­vano fatto con­tro la Libia nel 2011, le forze dell’Isis, muo­ven­dosi in spazi aperti, sareb­bero state facile ber­sa­glio. Esse hanno invece potuto attac­care Ramadi con colonne di auto­blindo cari­che di uomini ed esplosivi.

Gli Usa sono dive­nuti mili­tar­mente impo­tenti? No: se l’Isis sta avan­zando in Iraq e Siria, è per­ché a Washing­ton vogliono pro­prio que­sto. Lo con­ferma un docu­mento uffi­ciale dell’Agenzia di intel­li­gence del Pen­ta­gono, datato 12 ago­sto 2012, dese­cre­tato il 18 mag­gio 2015 per ini­zia­tiva del gruppo con­ser­va­tore «Judi­cial Watch» nella com­pe­ti­zione per le pre­si­den­ziali. Esso riporta che «i paesi occi­den­tali, gli stati del Golfo e la Tur­chia sosten­gono in Siria le forze di oppo­si­zione che ten­tano di con­trol­lare le aree orien­tali, adia­centi alle pro­vince ira­chene occi­den­tali», aiu­tan­dole a «creare rifugi sicuri sotto pro­te­zione internazionale».

C’è «la pos­si­bi­lità di sta­bi­lire un prin­ci­pato sala­fita nella Siria orien­tale, e ciò è esat­ta­mente ciò che vogliono le potenze che sosten­gono l’opposizione, per iso­lare il regime siriano, retro­via stra­te­gica dell’espansione sciita (Iraq e Iran)». Il docu­mento del 2012 con­ferma che l’Isis, i cui primi nuclei ven­gono dalla guerra di Libia, si è for­mato in Siria, reclu­tando soprat­tutto mili­tanti sala­fiti sun­niti che, finan­ziati da Ara­bia Sau­dita e altre monar­chie, sono stati rifor­niti di armi attra­verso una rete della Cia (docu­men­tata, oltre che dal New York Times, da un rap­porto di «Con­flict Arma­ment Research»). Ciò spiega l’incontro nel mag­gio 2013 (docu­men­tato foto­gra­fi­ca­mente) tra il sena­tore Usa John McCain, in mis­sione in Siria per conto della Casa Bianca, e Ibra­him al-Badri, il «califfo» a capo dell’Isis.

Spiega anche per­ché l’Isis ha sca­te­nato l’offensiva in Iraq nel momento in cui il governo dello sciita al-Maliki pren­deva le distanze da Washing­ton, avvi­ci­nan­dosi a Pechino e Mosca. Washing­ton, sca­ri­cando la respon­sa­bi­lità della caduta di Ramadi sull’esercito ira­cheno, annun­cia ora di voler acce­le­rare in Iraq l’addestramento e arma­mento delle «tribù sunnite».

L’Iraq sta andando nella dire­zione della Jugo­sla­via, verso la disgre­ga­zione, com­menta l’ex segre­ta­rio alla difesa Robert Gates. Lo stesso in Siria, dove Usa e alleati con­ti­nuano ad adde­strare e armare mili­ziani per rove­sciare il governo di Dama­sco. Con la poli­tica del «divide et impera», Washing­ton con­ti­nua così ad ali­men­tare la guerra che, in 25 anni, ha pro­vo­cato stragi, esodi, povertà, tanto che molti gio­vani hanno fatto delle armi il loro mestiere.
Un ter­reno sociale su cui fanno presa le potenze occi­den­tali, le monar­chie loro alleate, i «califfi» che stru­men­ta­liz­zano l’Islam e la divi­sione tra sun­niti e sciiti. Un fronte della guerra, al cui interno vi sono diver­genze sulla tat­tica (ad esem­pio, su quando e come attac­care l’Iran), non sulla stra­te­gia. Armato dagli Usa, che annun­ciano la ven­dita (per 4 miliardi di dol­lari) all’Arabia Sau­dita di altri 19 eli­cot­teri, per la guerra nello Yemen, e a Israele di altri 7400 mis­sili e bombe, tra cui quelle anti-bunker per l’attacco all’Iran.

Manlio Dinucci

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O Califado desejado pelos Estados Unidos

May 29th, 2015 by Manlio Dinucci

Enquanto o Estado Islâmico ocupa Ramadi, a segunda cidade do Iraque, e no dia seguinte Palmira, na região central da Síria, assassinando milhares de civis e obrigando dezenas de milhares à fuga, a Casa Branca declara: “Não podemos arrancar os cabelos toda vez que surge uma dificuldade na campanha contra o Isis” (New York Times, de 20 de maio).

A campanha militar “Inherent Resolve” foi lançada no Iraque e na Síria há nove meses, em 8 de agosto de 2014, pelos EUA e seus aliados: França, Reino Unido, Canadá, Austrália, Arábia Saudita, Emirados Árabes Unidos, Bahrein e outros. Se tivessem usado os seus caças-bombardeiros como fizeram contra a Líbia, em 2011, as forças do Isis, movendo-se em espaços abertos, seriam alvo fácil. No entanto, elas foram capazes de atacar Ramadi com colunas de carros blindados cheios de homens e explosivos.

Os Estados Unidos se tornaram militarmente impotentes? Não. Se o Isis está avançando no Iraque e na Síria, é porque é exatamente isto o que querem em Washington. Confirma isto um documento oficial da Agência de Inteligência do Pentágono, datado de 12 de agosto de 2012, desarquivado em 18 de maio de 2015 por iniciativa do grupo conservador “Judicial Watch” em meio à corrida presidencial. O documento informa que “os países ocidentais, os Estados do Golfo e a Turquia apoiam na Síria as forças de oposição que tentam controlar as áreas orientais, adjacentes às províncias iraquianas ocidentais”, ajudando-as a “criar refúgios seguros sob proteção internacional”.

Existe a “possibilidade de estabelecer um principado salafita na Síria oriental, e isto é exatamente o que desejam as potências que apoiam a oposição, para isolar o regime sírio, retaguarda estratégica da expansão xiita (Iraque e Irã)”. O documento de 2012 confirma que o Isis, cujos primeiros núcleos vêm da guerra na Líbia, foi formado na Síria, recrutando sobretudo militantes salafitas e sunitas que, financiados pela Arábia Saudita e outras monarquias, foram armados através de uma rede da CIA (documentada, além de pelo New York Times, por um informe de “Conflict Armament Research”). Isto explica o encontro em maio de 2013 (documentado fotograficamente) entre o senador estadunidense John McCain, em missão na Síria por conta da Casa Branca, e Ibrahim al-Badri, o “califa” chefe do Isis.

Explica também por que o Isis desencadeou a ofensiva no Iraque no momento em que o governo do xiita Al-Maliki tomava distância de Washington, aproximando-se de Pequim e Moscou. Washington, descarregando a responsabilidade pela queda de Ramadi sobre o exército iraquiano, anuncia agora que quer acelerar no Iraque o adestramento e o armamento das “tribos sunitas”.

O Iraque está caminhando no mesmo rumo que a Iugoslávia, para a desagregação, comenta o ex-secretário da Defesa, Robert Gates. O mesmo ocorre na Síria, onde os EUA e seus aliados continuam a adestrar e armar milicianos para derrubar o governo de Damasco. Com a política de “dividir para dominar”, Washington continua assim a alimentar a guerra que, em 25 anos, provocou tragédia, êxodo, pobreza, tanto que muitos jovens transformaram as armas em sua profissão.

Um terreno social onde as potências ocidentais fazem sua presa as monarquias a elas aliadas, os “califas”, que instrumentalizam o Islã e a divisão entre sunitas e xiitas. Uma frente da guerra, em cujo interior existem divergências táticas (por exemplo, sobre quando e como atacar o Irã), mas não divergências estratégicas. Frente de guerra armada pelos EUA, que anunciam a venda (por 4 bilhões de dólares) à Arábia Saudita de outros 19 helicópteros para a guerra no Iêmen, e a Israel de mais 7.400 mísseis e bombas, entre os quais os anti-bunker para atacar o Irã.

Manlio Dinucci
Jornalista italiano

Traduzido do italiano por José Reinaldo Carvalho, vermelho.org
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Many have said it for years, but now the Federal Bureau of Investigation is claiming that police departments have been deliberately infiltrated by racist, white supremacist organizations.

The claim comes after what the FBI says has been nearly a decade of federal law enforcement’s confirmed and documented acts of infiltration by white supremacist groups into American police departments.

The FBI warning first came back on October 2006, but it fell on largely deaf ears. Now, the report entitled “White supremacist infiltration of law enforcement” is being revisited by many experts in fighting back against organized hate group terrorism.

In the 2006 report, the FBI found that federal court determined that members of a Los Angeles sheriffs department had organized a Neo Nazi gang. The officers involved did not keep their racist ideas to themselves either, as the FBI found that these same officers “habitually terrorized” the African American community.

The FBI also found that the Chicago police department fired a detective after it was discovered that he had strong ties to the Ku Klux Klan. That detective, Jon Burge, was found to have tortured over 100 African American suspects.

The City of Cleveland, in news lately for their shooting of Tamir Rice, and other extreme instances of police gunning down unarmed AfricanAmericans, found that police locker rooms had been overrun with “white power” graffiti and vandalism.

In Texas, a sheriff department found that two of their deputies not only were in the Klan, but were actually prominent recruiters for the hate group.

Now, just as the FBI had warned, the number of white supremacist members infiltrating law enforcement has soared.

Between the years of 2008 to 2014, that number of documented infiltrators rose from just shy of 150, to one thousand. Even worse is the fact that most of them were never fired after their hate group affiliation was discovered.

If you agree that something needs to be done about this, help us raise awareness and SPREAD THE WORD!

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CIA Hordes Climate Data from Scientists

May 29th, 2015 by Josh Paniagua

On May 20th, President Obama spoke before fresh cadets at the United States Coast Guard Academy Commencement. Along with the typical presidential spiel expressing his gratitude and the seemingly divine importance of being in the US Coast Guard, the President brought up an interesting topic during his speech: the ongoing climate crisis.

“This brings me to the challenge I want to focus on today — one where our Coast Guardsmen are already on the front lines, and that, perhaps more than any other, will shape your entire careers — and that’s the urgent need to combat and adapt to climate change. As a nation, we face many challenges, including the grave threat of terrorism. And as Americans, we will always do everything in our power to protect our country. Yet even as we meet threats like terrorism, we cannot, and we must not, ignore a peril that can affect generations. Now, I know there are still some folks back in Washington who refuse to admit that climate change is real […] But the best scientists in the world know that climate change is happening. Our analysts in the intelligence community know climate change is happening. Our military leaders — generals and admirals, active duty and retired — know it’s happening. Our homeland security professionals know it is happening. And our coast guard knows it is happening.”

As he continues to stress the importance and audacity of the situation, he notes that climate change could pave the way for terrorist organizations and civil unrest. However, just days after his speech, the CIA decided that it was going to close the doors on the Measurements of Earth Data for Environmental Analysis program, otherwise known as MEDEA.

So what was the purpose of MEDEA? In 1996, ex-CIA director John Deutch explained it in a speech at the World Affairs Council in Los Angeles.

“MEDEA works with the Intelligence Community to establish what we call the “Global Fiducials Program.” Under this initiative, during the next decade we will periodically image selected sites of environmental significance. This will give scientists an ongoing record of changes in the earth that will improve their understanding of environmental processes. More importantly, it will greatly enhance their ability to provide strategic warning of potentially catastrophic threats to the health and welfare of our citizens.”

In other words, MEDEA was a program that scientists relied on to get accurate and classified climate data — and now it is gone. But why?

According to CIA spokesman Ryan Whaylen in a statement to the National Journal, “these project have been completed and CIA will imploy these research results and engage external experts as it continues to evaluate the national security implications of climate change.

One doesn’t need to be an Obama supporter to recognize that climate change and extreme weather are real concerns and can have detrimental effects on future generations. We need to see it studied and understood further, not have the images that the CIA already has in its possession hidden from climate scientists. But in an act of predictability, the US government has decided to aim its focus on enemies overseas and continue to horde information from the American people.

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For most consumers of alternative news and media, the lineup of the players constitutes the tyrants and their systemic control, and the enlightened underground, with both sides fighting the great battle of winning the hearts and minds of the rest of the public. 

For the alternative news and information community, the possibility of large-scale psychological operations within alternative media itself are generally outside the spectrum of the possible.

Indeed, crowds today are sill cheering on Assange and his Vaudeville Whistleblower Roadshow with Bradley-Chelsea Manning, and more recently, finding themselves intellectually snowed-in by our last hero, Snowden.

Enter Jade Helm…

Art by David Dees.


Jade Helm 15

In 2015, the focal point has become the Jade Helm 15 training operation across at least 7 states, with SOCOM running the training exercise for realistic military training. The brief document lists role-playing involving Texas and Utah as “hostile” areas, with insurgents in Southern California and other states like Colorado, California and Nevada as “friendly.”

On the surface, the exercise gives credence to the ultimate fears and paranoia of tea party and militia groups – clearly the U.S. government is prepping for everything from “martial law,” to “economic collapse,” and everything else under the sun that can be gleaned from a Google search and baseless YouTube speculation.

Fending off the mainstream media’s dishonest portrayal of the patriot and alternative media’s fears, Alex Newman of The New American concludes:

“Of course, critics of Jade Helm and the Obama administration should stick to facts that can be proven, rather than speculation. Most have done that, including many of those being dishonestly smeared by the deceitful media. However, the establishment press has an even more serious responsibility and duty to do the same — stick to the facts, do not deceive readers, question those in power, and adhere to basic journalistic ethics. Instead of sticking to the facts and being honest, though, establishment propagandists masquerading as journalists have once again shown the world why they cannot be trusted. As such, it is no surprise that so few Americans trust the “mainstream” press and are flocking to the alternative media by the millions.”

‘Common Sense Show’ host Dave Hodges has argued the end goal of Jade Helm is the imminent roundup, gulag confinement and gun confiscation of all Americans who have been marked as rebellious, with bank account confiscations, martial law and false flags just around the corner. Infowars reporters Joe Biggs and David Knight have argued similarly that the threats are rather constant, slow build ups to condition the American public into the acceptance of moving towards a third world, ‘banana republic’ scenario.

However, what all these portrayals have not delved into is the possibility that Jade Helm 15’s sensational “leak” (a Powerpoint slide show) to the “alternative news and patriot community” itself may be nothing more than a psychological warfare operation.

In order to understand this possibility, it is necessary to understand the purpose and goal of PsyOps.

Psychological Warfare Operations

Psychological warfare operations are at once mysterious, yet fairly well-known.  Most educated readers are familiar with World War II propaganda or the notion of “black operations,” but more precise and technical ideas of PsyOps are not as well known. Retired Maj. Ed Rouse explains of the goals of PsyOps:

Where’s Ashton? You’ve been punked.

“Psychological Operations (PSYOP) or Psychological Warfare (PSYWAR) is simply learning everything about your target enemy, their beliefs, likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities. Once you know what motivates your target, you are ready to begin psychological operations.

Psychological operations may be defined broadly as the planned use of communications to influence human attitudes and behavior … to create in target groups behavior, emotions, and attitudes that support the attainment of national objectives. The form of communication can be as simple as spreading information covertly by word of mouth or through any means of multimedia.

A psychological warfare campaign is a war of the mind. Your primary weapons are sight and sound. PSYOP can be disseminated by face-to-face communication, audio-visual means (television), audio media (radio or loudspeaker), visual media, (leaflet newspapers, books, magazines and/or posters). The weapon is not how its sent, but the message it carries and how that message affects the recipient.”

With that basic definition in mind, we can consider the possibility of Jade Helm 15 itself as having multiple potential uses.  Rather than the simple, binary dialectic of tyrannical fascist system versus liberty-loving, God-fearing patriot, the effect of Jade Helm 15’s “leak” upon the public and their reaction are far more interesting and relevant than the operation itself.   In fact, if we think back to recent years, alternative media outlets were in a tizzy over National Level Exercise 09, and then over NLE 11, etc.  In neither case did imminent apocalyptic doom manifest, but what did occur was a labyrinth of fractal speculation and orgiastic frenzy of bloggers, YouTubers and eschatological doomsayers, as these “leaked” exercises took on a life of their own.

From the perspective of PsyOps, the potential of Jade Helm to “learn everything about your target enemy, their beliefs, their likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses,” etc., would thus have numerous applications here.

On one level, the inter-contextual dialectic of tyrannical military versus veterans and patriots is the out playing of the intended war gaming scenario.

Multi-level Game Theory and Algorithmic Tracking

On a higher, meta level, the intention is to gather game theory-style data on the target audience, which in this case is not merely the alternative media and tea party niche, but also the mainstream media and its response to the tea party response, and back and forth.  Like a game of Pong, the game theorist can sit back and watch mass trends, movements and reactions between these two sides with social media and search engine algorithmic tracking.

Data Crunching, ‘Tracking Our Fear’: Titan Supercomputer.

For example, a Raleigh-based firm boasts of its ability to track “suicide bombing” with its collection of Pakistani bombing information.  WNCN reports:

“In analyzing the information, they realized that they have the blast signatures for the terrorist organizations. “I can tell you who did the attack with 93 percent accuracy, based on the way they make the bombs,” Usamani said.

They looked at what they call geo-political indicators, which includes things like political events, weather patterns, even the date on the calendar.  Burns said there are more than 150 such indicators. “You have to combine all of those,” he said. “You have to determine which combination is going to develop the risks for a particular area.”

Despite limitations in this type of software, numerous companies have arisen with the technological capability to offer some form of predictive algorithm programs to service law enforcement and intelligence agencies in “pre-crime.”  

One of the many goals of Jade Helm style operations that are consistent, ongoing military praxis would be the overcoming of these limitations and moving closer to the unachievable accuracy of 100%.

In other words, perfection, or the nearest thing to, requires a lot of practice.  Jade Helm is therefore an exercise that is far more relevant for data collection in terms of risk management and game theory for intelligence agencies and front tech companies, than anything to do with martial law, imminent gun confiscation or the blood moon asteroid crashing into the Wal-Mart turned FEMA camp guillotine gulag.

In the wake of ongoing exposure of mainstream media’s consistent usage of staged, faked, and computer-generated “news,”  alternative media outlets and consumers should be reminded of the possibility of alternative media falling into this same pattern of sensationalizing and disregarding facts for ever increasingly clickbait, tabloid-style online media gimmickry in both alternative and mainstream sources.

When considering the possibility of large-scale psychological operations in relation to purported “leaks” and “whistleblowers” who subsequently become the darlings of mainstream media and begin negotiating book and movie deals, John Young of Cryptome.org gave an analysis concurrent with the above to RT in 2011:

If the military wanted to keep Jade Helm secret, it could have been kept secret.

The decision to run a “mass drill in several states” was intentionally done and purposefully allowed to “leak.”  The consequences of such a public revelation are much more useful for war gaming and future predictive responses than any imminent threat of martial law.

Just like Assange and Snowden, Jade Helm is the establishment’s middle finger in the face of the ridiculous naiveté of the ultra-right wing and fringe of Tea Party crowds.

21WIRE contributor and author Jay Dyer is commentator on media, art, philosophy and culture. This article and many others, along with Jay’s podcast archive can be found on his blog Jay’s Analysis.

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Activists protest outside the annual general meeting of Orange at the Palais des Congrès in Paris, 27 May. (BDS France)

The multinational telecom company Orange is trying to distance itself from its Israeli affiliate as it faces mounting pressure from a boycott called against its Egyptian subsidiary Mobinil.

But BDS Egypt, the organizers of the Mobinil boycott, have rejected company statements as “shameless deception” and an effort to mislead the Egyptian public.

The campaign has affirmed that the boycott of Mobinil will continue until Orange ends its contract with its Israeli affiliate Partner Communications over the latter’s complicity in human rights abuses and war crimes against Palestinians.

Mobinil, with at least 33 million customers in Egypt, is 99 percent owned by Orange, making Egypt one of the France-based multinational’s largest markets.

Meanwhile, French activists piled on the pressure, holding a rally Wednesday outside the Paris venue where Orange held its annual shareholders meeting.

Pressure mounts in Egypt

It took only days for the boycott campaign, launched in Egypt last Saturday, to gain national media attention and elicit a defensive reaction from Orange-owned Mobinil.

The boycott received a high-profile boost when Hamdeen Sabahy, the liberal presidential candidate in Egypt’s 2012 democratic and 2014 rigged presidential elections, urged his 2.6 million followers on Twitter to support the boycott and switch their mobile phone service from Mobinil.

The company reacted swiftly, using its official Twitter account to deny Orange’s indisputable connections to Israel’s Partner Communications. Mobinil chief executive officer Yves Gauthier asserted in statements published by Egypt’s youm7.com that Orange “has no operational presence in Israel, and has no ownership connection to the Israeli company Partner Communications.” Gauthier added that the contract under which Israel’s Partner Communications does business as Orange Israel was a legacy arrangement dating from 1998.

“Shameless dishonesty”

In a statement posted on its Facebook page, BDS Egypt rejected Gauthier’s assertions as “shameless dishonesty by which the company seeks to conceal its complicity in the crimes of the [Israeli] occupation.” In fact, Orange operates in Israel through a franchise agreement with independently owned Partner Communications Ltd. Orange participates in systematic violations of Palestinian rights, according to aninvestigation published this month by a coalition of French and Palestinian human rights and labor organizations. The report notes that Orange profits from Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank as Partner operates hundreds of communications towers and other infrastructure, much of it on privately owned land confiscated from Palestinians. There are also dozens of Orange-branded stores in settlements Israel has built in the West Bank in violation of international law.

Support for Gaza massacres

What has generated particular outrage is that Orange Israel directly sponsors two Israeli military units, one of which – the Ezuz tank brigade – directly participated in some of the bloodiest incidents in last summer’s assault on Gaza that killed more than 2,200 Palestinians. In April, The Electronic Intifada revealed that Ezuz was present at two locations in Gaza – near Khan Younis and Rafah – at precise times when hundreds of civilians were killed and thousands of homes destroyed. Orange Israel, moreover, provided free service to Israeli soldiers and sent three mobile units to the front to meet all their needs. Mobinil CEO Gauthier added that Orange was contractually barred from interfering in Partner’s activities “in Israel.” But his assertion that the contract with the Israeli company is somehow a legacy is undermined by the fact that the lucrative deal was renewed in 2011. It was amended again this April, renewing the contract period for ten years and increasing the royalty fee Partner pays to Orange to use its brand name. In light of these facts, BDS Egypt warned Mobinil that “misleading the Egyptian people will not work.” “If Orange wishes to acquit itself of these crimes,” it added, the company “should take the correct decision to end its contract with Israel’s Partner, to halt its support for the occupation and its profiteering from this odious deal.” BDS Egypt has published a fully referenced report in Arabic on Orange’s activities in Israel and the occupied West Bank.

Paris protest

In Paris on Wednesday, activists from BDS France – some sporting orange wigs – rallied outside the Palais des Congrès where Orange was holding its annual meeting:

 

 

The French state owns 25 percent of Orange’s shares, meaning that the government profits from Israeli settlements that it officially claims to oppose.

French civil society organizations and trade unions have urged the government to end its complicity.

In a statement on its website, BDS France noted that Orange CEO Stéphane Richard told shareholders that the company seeks to expand its business in the Middle East – where it already operates in Tunisia, Jordan and Iraq as well as Egypt and Israel.

“But he did not mention the company’s shameful relationship with Partner,” BDS France added.

“Thanks to the recent revelations by The Electronic Intifada, we have been able to see just how far this complicity with the Israeli regime goes,” BDS France said in reference to Orange Israel’s support for Israeli military units in Gaza.

The campaign reminded Orange of the “commercial failures of another French company, Veolia, following its complicity with Israel’s colonial policies and apartheid.”

After years of being targeted by campaigners and losing billions in contracts, Veolia wasforced to sell off virtually all its businesses linked to the Israeli occupation in the West Bank.

BDS Egypt and BDS France have launched joint online petitions urging Orange to end its deal with Partner, in EnglishFrench and Arabic.

They have also been tweeting using the hashtags #OrangeSanguine (bloody Orange) and قاطع_موبينيل# (boycott Mobinil).

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A leaked letter dated May 19th and sent by the Chairman of Ukraine’s parliament, Vladimir Groysman, to the chargé d’affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Oslo Norway, thanks her for “the efforts you have made to have Petro Oleksiyovych Poroshenko nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize,” but continues: “Still we consider your assurances of support by the two members of the Nobel Committee as insufficient,” because there are five members of the Committee, and the support of 3 of them is necessary. 

Thus,

“We expect further efforts aimed at shifting the position of Berit Reiss-Andersen, Inger-Marie Ytterhorn and especially that of the Chair of the Nobel Committee Kaci Kullman Five. Regarding the latter, we recommend that you take advantage of the information you are going to receive from Germany. Your colleagues in Berlin have assured us that the dossier will soon be delivered to the U.S. Embassy in Oslo. It is of utmost importance for Mr. Poroshenko to have firm guarantees that he will be awarded the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize, since it could highlight the unanimous support of Ukrainian integrity by the democratic community of the world. Assistant Secretary of State Viktoria Nuland has highly estimated your job during her visit to Kyiv.”

The three mentioned Nobel Peace Prize Committee members are a politically varied group. Ms. Reiss-Andersen is from the social democratic or “Labour” party; Ms. Ytterhorn is from the libertarian or “Progress” party; and Ms. Five is from the Conservative Party. The two unidentified members are Thorbjørn Jagland from the Labour Party, and Henrik Syse from the Conservative Party. If this letter is correct, those are the two who are referred to by the letter’s phrase, “your assurances of support by the two members.”

The letter also makes a vague reference to the poor reputation that the Committee has engendered on account of the Committee’s having granted the Prize to Barack Obama in 2009 (a decision that the Committee’s Chairperson, Ms. Five, concurred with and has been criticized for):

“We understand the difficulties you face when promoting the candidacy of the President of Ukraine, therefore we ask you to exert additional leverages by engaging those U.S. Senators who effectively cooperated with the Committee in 2009.”

Presumably, this means that whomever “those U.S. Senators” were, the Chairman of Ukraine’s parliament thinks that they were “effective.”

President Poroshenko entered office on 25 May 2014 after a U.S.-sponsored coup in Kiev that installed Arseniy Yatsenyuk as Ukraine’s Prime Minister on 26 February 2014, after the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Asian Affairs, Victoria Nuland, had instructed the U.S. Ambassador in Kiev on 4 February 2014 to get “Yats” appointed as the junta’s leader; she issued that instruction to him by phone on February 4th and the coup occurred on February 22nd; Yatsenyuk was then appointed on February 26th, and he remains in power today.

One pro-Russian part of Ukraine, Crimea, then seceded and joined Russia, and another, Donbass, seceded and was not accepted by Russia; it thus was bombed by the Ukrainian Government during May through December 2014, since Donbass’s repeated requests to be allowed to join Russia were spurned by Vladimir Putin. (Yet, Ukraine accuses Russia of providing the fighters who are actually the men of Donbass, who refuse to be ruled by the U.S.-coup regime.

Russia sends them guns, and volunteers have come from Russia and many other countries to help the Donbass defenders.) German intelligence estimates that “up to 50,000” people were killed in that bombing campaign, but U.S. and other official estimates are only around 5,000.

Even before Poroshenko took office, the new Ukrainian government of “Yats” Yatsenyuk invaded Donbass, using bombers, tanks, rocket-launchers, and everything it had; and, when Poroshenko gave his victory speech in the ceremonial Presidential election on May 25th, he promised, and it was very clear from him, that: “The anti-terrorist operation [he called the residents there ’terrorists’] cannot and should not last two or three months. It should and will last hours.” (Another translation of it was “Antiterrorist operation can not and will not continue for 2-3 months. It must and will last hours.”)

But it did last months — Poroshenko’s prediction was certainly false; and, moreover, he lost first one round of the war, and then another — his prediction of its outcome was likewise false. And recently, he said that the war must be resumed for yet a third round, in order that Ukraine win back both Crimea and Donbass. However, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned him on May 12th that he must not do that, and that if he did he’d be violating the Minsk II ceasefire accords which had been arranged by France’s Francois Hollande and Germany’s Angela Merkel. Then, three days later, his Assistant Secretary Victoria Nuland, who had arranged the February 2014 coup, told both Yatsenyuk and Poroshenko to ignore what Kerry had just said, and that, “We continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Ukraine and reiterate our deep commitment to a single Ukrainian nation, including Crimea, and all the other regions of Ukraine.”

Perhaps a reason why the Chairman of Ukraine’s parliament is boldly demanding the U.S. State Department to arrange for Poroshenko to get at least a nomination for the Peace Prize (and even goes so far as to assert that,

“It is of utmost importance for Mr. Poroshenko to have firm guarantees that he will be awarded the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize”) is that otherwise they will follow through on Nuland’s statement of U.S. commitment, and re-invade Donbass. However, any invasion by Ukraine of Crimea would be exceedingly unlikely, because that would give Russia a virtual carte blanche to attack Ukraine, and neither the U.S. nor any other power will go to war against Russia in such an instance; Ukraine isn’t yet a NATO member, and NATO would be exceedingly reluctant to go so far as a third world war, this time against Russia, in order to defend the Ukrainian Government from the consequences of that Government’s own then-blatant ceasefire violation — especially in the wake of what virtually everyone now recognizes to have been a U.S. coup that had installed the present Ukrainian regime (and even EU officials were shocked to find out that it had been a coup). And it was a very violent coup, which was followed shortly thereafter by the extremely violent ethnic-cleansing campaign to get rid of the residents in Donbass.

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, and of  Feudalism, Fascism, Libertarianism and Economics.

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The New York Times illustrated Peter Wehner’s piece with a stretched-out donkey. A load of bull would have been more appropriate. (graphic: Matt Chase)

“Have Democrats Pulled Too Far Left?” asks a New York Times op-ed (5/27/15). Because this question isalways answered affirmativelyby corporate media, you don’t even have to note that the author, Peter Wehner, “served in the last three Republican administrations” to know that the answer is going to be yes.

Despite the predictable thesis, however, the column still manages to surprise with its degree of intellectual dishonesty. Wehner’s thesis is that Barack Obama has “moved to the left” compared to “centrist New Democrat” Bill Clinton. But whenever Wehner makes a claim that can be checked—that isn’t simply empty rhetoric, like his assertion that Obama “has often acted as if American strength is a problem”—again and again it turns out to involve some numbers game.

Take Wehner’s claim that while Clinton

endorsed a sentencing policy of “three strikes and you’re out,”…Obama’s former attorney general, Eric H. Holder Jr., criticized what he called “widespread incarceration” and championed the first decrease in the federal prison population in more than three decades.

You’d never know from that that the federal prison population is 48 percent bigger under the “left” Obama than it was when centrist Clinton left office.

“Mr. Clinton lowered the capital-gains tax rate; Mr. Obama has proposed raising it,” Wehner says. Clinton lowered the rate capital gains were taxed at to 20 percent; under Obama it went up—to 20 percent.

“Mr. Clinton cut spending and produced a surplus,” writes Wehner. “Under Mr. Obama, spending and the deficit reached record levels.” From 1993 through 2000, Clinton reduced the US budget imbalance as a proportion of US GDP by 6 percentage points; from 2009 through 2014, Obama reduced it by 7 percentage points.

Wehner adds as “another bellwether” the fact that Hillary Rodham Clinton “is decidedly more liberal than she and her husband once were.” One example of this: “She has remained noncommittal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the free-trade agreement that has drawn ire from the left”—but which has been strenuously pushed by Barack Obama, though Wehner does not acknowledge this as evidence of Obama’s centrism.

But perhaps the most deceptive part of Wehner’s op-ed is when he blames Obama’s supposed shift to the left for the failing fortunes of the Democratic Party:

After two enormous losses by Democrats in the 2010 and 2014 midterm elections, Republicans control the Senate and the House of Representatives. There are currently 31 Republican governors compared with 18 for Democrats…. The Obama years have been politically good for Mr. Obama; they have been disastrous for his party.

Surely Wehner remembers that after the first half of Clinton’s first term, Republicans controlled both the House and the Senate for the remainder of his administration—exactly as happened under Obama. There were 30 Democratic governors when Clinton took office, and 19 when he left; there were 29 when Obama took office, and currently there’s 18.

It’s true that Obama has been been bad news for his party—but as FAIR haslong pointed out, that’s true of Clinton as well. An honest appraisal of the administrations of both Clinton and Obama, with their emphasis on deficit-cutting and corporate-friendly trade deals, reveals both Democrats to be establishment centrists—and centrist politics, contrary to what the punditocracy would have you believe, do not have a particularly winning record at the ballot box.


You can send a message to the New York Times at [email protected], or to public editor Margaret Sullivan at [email protected]. Please remember that respectful communication is the most effective.

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In case it didn’t make it to your news table, the United States Department of Agriculture (headed by Tom Vilsack, Monsanto’s best buddy) has recently (in January) approved two more Monsanto-owned genetically modified crops – new strains of both GM corn and soy. Is it any question now who is running our government in the US? Monsanto is calling the shots, not the people who vote for Congress and Senate members.

“Today [January], the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved the sale and planting of Monsanto’s genetically engineered dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton. This approval follows that of 2,4-D tolerant soybeans and corn, billed as the next generation of herbicide-tolerant crops to tackle glyphosate (Roundup)-resistant weeds. Dicamba-tolerant soy and cotton are simply the latest example of USDA’s allegiance to the biotechnology industry and dependence upon chemical solutions. This continues the disturbing trend of more herbicide-tolerant crop approvals taking place under President Obama’s watch.”

Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter declared in a press statement that the green light is:

“simply the latest example of USDA’s allegiance to the biotechnology industry and dependence upon chemical solutions. This continues the disturbing trend of more herbicide-tolerant crop approvals taking place under President Obama’s watch.”

Should we be surprised though, when the main man heading the Department of Ag is a member of one of the biggest biotechnology industry groups, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, who once named Vilsack Governor of the Year? Vilsack is also the founder and former chair of the Governor’s Biotechnology Partnership. So more GMO crop approval – of course!

The Environmental Protection Agency is about to approve Monsanto’s newest herbicide, as well, one that contains both dicamba and glyphosate.

Other countries have already banned GM crops as well as banning these noxious herbicidal probable carcinogens, but the US – well we’re all about using more toxic chemicals.

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Failed Derailment: Britain’s Human Rights Act

May 29th, 2015 by Dr. Binoy Kampmark

Common law countries, contrary to popular belief, regard enshrined human rights with suspicion.  Unconvincing arguments suggest that having such rights grants judicial officers greater powers while undermining the scope of Parliament’s jurisdiction.  They are rigid inconveniences on the road of majoritarian governments.

The gentleman’s code prevails in this idea of parliamentary supremacy – members of parliament will not only behave in the name of justice but protect the public’s interest.  Abridgments of human rights and liberties are not presumed when it comes to the passage of legislation – judges make the automatic assumption that such an instance would be inconceivable.  Within such reasoning lies the seeds of casual tyranny and encroaching despotisms.  It has proven very attractive.

The campaign against the Human Rights Act in the UK has assumed various forms. It is deemed European, largely because it incorporates the European Convention on Human Rights in to British law. It is deemed a foreign intrusion, one of those nasty externals that have a habit of getting into the local blood stream.

The emphasis from the conservatives – at least some of them – has been the idea that a British Bill of Rights is bolder and better than any European inspiration.  It clarifies, and orders.  At its centre is the idea that the European Court of Human Rights will be removed as the final court of appeal.  The pride and place of the House of Lords is thereby restored.  Not that the Commission on a Bill of Rights was in full agreement – the findings revealed a significant division between those in favour of the HRA and those against.[1]

Since 1997, when the British Parliament got busy over the subject of passing the bill, grumbles and mumbles have been noted about the chaining of Britannia to an externally imposed human rights regime.  In a speech at the Centre for Policy Studies in June 2006, David Cameron took to the high road.[2] In it lay the problem of balance, and an environment which sees threats given a good deal of airing around the clock; when conventional criminal activity is deemed exceptional and extraordinary, was bound to throw things out of kilter.

While acknowledging “some of the direct consequences of the Human Rights Act” as positive, Cameron wasted little time in attacking a statute he sees as making “the fight against crime harder.”  Cunning criminals have made use of the HRA.  “This has bogged down cases for years, and the backlog in the courts has grown to 146 uncompleted claims.”

All of this has ignored supporters within the conservative party for the HRA.  Even within the Tories lies a resistant core, including Dominic Grieve, Ken Clarke and David Davis, all former cabinet ministers who would have trouble scrapping the associated link between the Human Rights Act and the ECHR.  Liberties do matter for them, even if they echo from across the channel, and have roots in European institutions.  Former Justice Secretary and Home Secretary Clarke even went so far as to suggest that this was non-starting “xenophobic and legal nonsense” while Francesca Klug observed that pitching for a British Bill of Rights constituted an “unedifying race to the bottom.”

The current platform of the government has gotten a few veterans worried.  A senior Tory was noted as suggesting that the broader agenda of the Cameron government would only be realised if the prime minister removed “the deeply offensive threat to withdraw from the ECHR.  They is no way the Conservatives can propose that – we wrote the convention for heaven’s sake” (Guardian, May 27).

Combined with the spoiling efforts of Labour and the Scottish National Party (SNP), then the newly elected Cameron would have more than just egg on its face.  The result is a hiatus on the subject of repealing the HRA, however brief. The traditional Queen’s speech, highlighting the policies of the newly elected government, revealed that Cameron and his band of merry shredders would “bring forward proposals for a British bill of rights.” Employment minister, Priti Patel, suggested that the government would want to do things “properly”.[3]

There was the fate of Corporal Anne-Marie Ellement, bullied and allegedly raped by two military police officers.[4]  It came to the service of Patience Asuquo, brought to Britain as a domestic worker only to never be paid by her employer.  Her passport having been taken, she was fobbed off by authorities, a mere complainant overly keen to protect her rights.

Even Benedict Cumberbatch has stepped off the cinematic screen to battle for the Human Rights Act on behalf of the civil rights group Liberty.[5]  In characteristically haunting fashion, his voice intones about a victim who choked on his blood while police chatted idly by.

The Human Rights Act has acted as a constant inconvenience against authoritarian mishap, institutional cruelty and police state indifference.  It has provided protection for the bullied, the trodden, the abused.  Another one of those indispensable inconveniences the security-minded Cameron wishes to do away with.  Parliaments should never be assumed to be wise.  They should, generally speaking, be watched.

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

Notes:

[1] https://www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk/news/blog/my-hra-patience-asuquo
[2] http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2006/jun/26/conservatives.constitution
[3] http://www.theguardian.com/law/2015/may/27/threat-exit-human-rights-act-convention-dropped-tories-cameron
[4] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-politics/11632976/Queens-Speech-Camerons-Human-Rights-Act-reform-scotched-by-Sturgeon.html
[5] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-politics/11632976/Queens-Speech-Camerons-Human-Rights-Act-reform-scotched-by-Sturgeon.html

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A Michigan mother’s painful journey to find answers to her son’s mysterious death has unearthed yet another case of vaccine-induced early mortality. The untimely fate of Elijah Daniel French, who was born on May 4, 2007, and died just days after receiving eight routine vaccinations in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s recommended vaccine schedule, has been determined by a child death investigator and several pathologists to have been caused by the vaccines.

As originally reported by VacTruth.com (and archived here), young Danny’s (as his parents called him) heartbreaking story begins like many others: He was completely healthy, smiling and normal until being jabbed by establishment white-coats with multiple government-recommended vaccines all at once. He quickly digressed into poor health, almost immediately suffering from breathing problems and high fever.

According to the family’s account, Daniel was vaccinated for seven different conditions at five-and-a-half months old, including with DTaP, hepatitis B, polio, Hib and pneumococcal vaccines. Despite suffering immediate adverse effects, Daniel was brought back to the doctor’s office just a few months later and jabbed again with all the same vaccines. This time his condition worsened, and he quickly developed asthma.

Believing that her child’s doctor knew what was best, Daniel’s mother brought him back for a third round of vaccines at 14 months old. This time, the boy was given eight vaccines in four separate injections: MMR (measles, mumps and rubella), Hib, varicella and DTaP. This is when things for Daniel took a serious turn for the worse.

“That night, Danny was still eating and drinking but was cranky and slept more than usual,” his mother reported. “By the next day, he was extremely fatigued, irritable and had a loss of appetite. He did not have a fever at this time. He was red and warm where they injected him. These symptoms only worsened.”

“By the third day, Danny was unable to stay awake for longer than thirty minutes, he had zero food intake, his fluid intake diminished and he cried excessively. Seventy-one hours after his doctor visit, Danny developed a fever from the vaccines and was given Children’s Tylenol. His doctor was called but there was no answer from him because it was the July 4th holiday, the office was closed.”

Three independent pathologists confirm that young Danny’s death was caused by vaccines

Long story short, Danny fell asleep not long after being given another round of Children’s Tylenol, and when his mother came back a few hours later to check on him, his body was cold and unresponsive: Young Danny had died. And the cause of death, as Danny’s mother would only find out years later after conducting her own thorough investigation, was the vaccines he was given.

The initial autopsy report declared that Danny had died from asphyxia in an undetermined manner, but the boy’s mother wasn’t satisfied with this explanation. She soon discovered that the official death report noted acetaminophen from the Tylenol in Danny’s blood, but nothing from the vaccines, pointing to a cover-up.

As it turns out, the medical examiner involved was bent against implicating vaccines as a possible cause of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Danny’s mother decided to consult with other medical experts to gain second opinions, and what they all unanimously determined is that, based on blood and tissue samples taken from Danny’s body, the boy had definitely died from the vaccines.

“Everything was reviewed by three separate pathologists,” she said. “All three confirmed the same findings. The pathologists stated vaccine-induced hypercytokinemia as the cause of my son’s asphyxiation. They were able to determine this in large part to the blood panel taken prior to Danny receiving his vaccines, in contrast with the samples I had stored.”

“They also agreed encephalopathy was likely responsible, as it’s a cytokine storm syndrome. Danny’s pathology report stated his cause of death was asphyxiation, secondary to hypercytokinemia, caused by vaccines received approximately 72 hours prior.”

Danny’s full story is available here:
VacTruth.com.

Sources:

http://vactruth.com

http://vactruth.com

http://truthwiki.org/Vaccine_Fanaticism

http://truthwiki.org/Medical_Fascism

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Al-Nusra Front has taken to the airwaves with a message for all Westerners and Americans in particular – they really aren’t that bad. And there are no plans to attack Americans. They are just your friendly neighborhood terrorist organization, funded handsomely by the West and the GCC, raping and beheading their way across the Middle East. There’s nothing to worry aboutso long as the US allows them to continue to rape little girls, cut off heads, impose savage Sharia law, and eat the hearts and livers of the occasional dissident.

This message was brought to you by the feudal monarchy of Qatar and its mouthpiece organization, Al-Jazeera and conducted with a journalist whose past is checkered with a conviction of supporting al-Qaeda.

The alleged leader of al-Nusra Front, Abu Mohammed al-Julani, appeared on al-Jazeera with a setting fit for a king (or Emir *ahem*) to discuss Nusra’s plans for Syria and the West. The man alleging to be Julani and alleging to be the leader of Nusra, despite claiming to be “fearless,” sat with his face covered and his back to the camera. The set was ornately decorated and almost appeared to be some type of palace room or high government building.

Julani reassured Westerners that he had been ordered by another alleged leader, this time of al-Qaeda proper, Ayman al-Zawihiri, not to launch attacks against the West as this would jeopardize the mission in Syria.

A New York Times report cited a US intelligence official as saying that Julani’s statements were merely self-serving propaganda.

Propaganda? Yes. Self-serving? Not exactly. Julani’s statements were actually serving NATO, the US, and Israel in their own propaganda efforts to assure the American people that supporting the so-called “rebels” in Syria is a good idea and one that will not come back to bite them.

Indeed, Julani truly spoke like a paid actor or a professional trained talking monkey in his job as message delivery boy. Obviously, neither designation would set him clearly apart from any other “expert” or “reporter” in the Western/Gulf media propaganda establishment.

Still, the “fearless” hijabed Julani stated, “We are only here to accomplish one mission, to fight the regime and its agents on the ground, including Hezbollah and others. Al-Nusra Front doesn’t have any plans or directives to target the West. We received clear orders not to use Syria as a launching pad to attack the US or Europe in order to not sabotage the true mission against the regime. Maybe al-Qaeda does that, but not here in Syria.”

The only true part of his statement was that Khorosan, painted as the end of the Western world and enemy #1 for a total of about five days, was a fictional organization invented by the Americans to deceive and frighten the American public.

His presentation of al-Qaeda and al-Nusra Front as different organizations, however, is ludicrous, since Nusra was merely the Syrian version of al-Qaeda proper before the two groups were largely united by the shadowy Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and renamed the Islamic Emirate of Iraq and the Levant, later to be renamed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIS, and IS. Of course, all incarnations of the group were entirely organized, funded, and armed by the United States, NATO, and GCC.

Julani also stated that Nusra would not harm Christians or Druze who refused to fight against it and that the even the Alawites would be spared if they would refuse to fight, reject Assad, and give up their religious beliefs and convert to Sunnism.

Of course, this is disingenuous to say the least. The “opposition” in Syria was famous for screaming“Christians to Beirut, Alawites to the grave!” as far back as 2011 when the crisis first began. Alawites have long been targeted by the so-called “rebels” from the start. Regardless, for the likes of the “moderate rebels,” no Muslim – even Sunni – is ever Muslim enough, unless he practices the Wahhabist filth that is labeled Islamic by its proponents and psychopathic adherents.

The reality of the situation is that Julani’s statements are nothing more than Western intelligence propaganda foisted upon the brains of the Western public in an effort to gin up support for the savages now bearing down on Latakia Syria as I write this article.

Of course, Nusra and al-Qaeda will still be played up as a threat to the US here at home. After all, there are a few straggler civil liberties ambling about that still need to be corralled and destroyed.

Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of six books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom7 Real ConspiraciesFive Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1and volume 2, and The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria. Turbeville has published over 500 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV.  He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com. 

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Why Did the US Army Ship Live Anthrax?

May 29th, 2015 by Patrick Martin

US military officials revealed Wednesday that the Army bioweapons laboratory at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah shipped live anthrax samples to 18 facilities in nine US states, as well as to a US military base in South Korea.

A Pentagon spokesman said the anthrax spores were supposed to have been killed by gamma radiation, with dead samples shipped to commercial laboratories and the US military base as part of a program that began last year to test methods for recognizing anthrax in the field.

Workers at a Maryland lab that received an anthrax shipment in March 2014 noticed on May 22, 2015 that the spores appeared to be growing, and the lab reported this to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia.

A CDC spokesman said,

“The lab was working as part of a DOD [Department of Defense] effort to develop a new diagnostic test to identify biological threats. … Although an inactivated agent was expected, the lab reported they were able to grow live Bacillus anthracis (anthrax).”

The CDC has taken over investigation of the shipments, collecting samples from the various labs and testing them to confirm the anthrax is live. Dugway Proving Grounds tested the remainder of the batch from which the samples were extracted, labeled “AG1,” and found it was live, officials said, indicating that the entire batch had not been properly irradiated.

If the official accounts are to be believed, the shipments of live anthrax represent an almost unfathomable degree of negligence and recklessness. Live samples of one of the deadliest biological warfare agents were sent in FedEx packages all over the United States. The labs receiving shipments have not been identified by name, but they are located in California, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin, as well as Maryland.

It is less than 14 years since the mailing of anthrax spores through the mail infected 22 people, including 12 US Postal Service employees. Five people died, three of them postal workers. This was an act of domestic terrorism, allegedly carried out by a disgruntled scientist at the US Army’s germ warfare laboratory in Frederick, Maryland. The accused scientist, Bruce Ivins, committed suicide and the case against him was never proven in court.

There are conflicting reports about how many people have been directly endangered by the shipments within the United States. Pentagon officials claim that there was no danger to FedEx workers or the public from the shipping of the packages. Eighteen labs received and opened shipments over the course of 14 months, but only four lab workers so far have been put in post-exposure treatment. These were described as “Defense Department workers,” suggesting that government personnel were working inside the commercial labs.

While only one sample was sent to Osan Air Base in South Korea, at least 22 people in a laboratory there were exposed to the live anthrax bacteria, including five Air Force personnel, ten Army personnel, three civilian officials and four contractors. All are now receiving precautionary medical treatment, although none have shown any symptoms of exposure, according to the Pentagon.

While further details are lacking, the disproportion between the number of samples and the number of those treated suggests that what took place at Osan Air Base was by far the most serious breach of safety. This is particularly ominous, since the base is located in Pyongtaek, on the edge of the Seoul metropolitan area, the world’s second-largest, home to 25 million people.

And it raises other questions, given the massive and intensifying campaign of political provocations directed against North Korea and China. Only five months ago, the US government publicly denounced North Korea for an alleged act of cyberwarfare in the hacking attack on Sony Pictures, provoked by the studio’s production of a film, The Interview, which revolved around a CIA plan to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The White House promised retaliation, but refused to spell out what form that might take.

It is entirely conceivable that anthrax bacteria were sent to South Korea for some other purpose than field-testing diagnostic tests.

Army Chief of Staff General Raymond Odierno discussed the handling of the anthrax bacteria samples during a breakfast meeting with reporters Thursday. He said the military personnel at Dugway had followed correct procedures to make the anthrax inactive before shipping it out. “The best I can tell, there was not human error,” he said. This is certainly a peculiar assertion, since it suggests that the dispatch of potentially lethal bacteria to 19 locations was deliberate and not a mistake.

Odierno was responding to questions about two breakdowns in safety procedures for handling deadly germs and viruses at the CDC last year. In one case, researchers at a lab equipped to handle live pathogens sent what they thought were killed samples of anthrax to another, less well-equipped lab. The samples turned out to be live. In the other case, CDC scientists shipped out what they thought was a relatively harmless strain of bird flu, but it turned out to be extremely virulent.

The live anthrax samples from Dugway were sent out during this same period, beginning in March 2014, and continuing until last month.

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Seven top FIFA officials were arrested in Zurich on Wednesday, the result of indictments handed out by the US government against fourteen individuals. They are charged on 47 counts, including racketeering, fraud and money laundering, linked to footballing activities in North and Central America and the Caribbean.

The arrests are bound up with a network of corruption in which sums of money were allegedly transferred as part of efforts to manipulate the location of World Cup games and win lucrative marketing contracts. They are also connected to the strategic interests of the American ruling class, including the ongoing campaign against Russia, which was selected by FIFA to host the 2018 World Cup.

The indictments have provoked the biggest crisis in the 111-year history of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association—the World Football Federation. They were prompted by two investigations: one by the US Department of Justice, FBI and the Internal Revenue Service, and another by the Swiss government, which made the arrests and is preparing extradition to the US.

Several of those charged were seized in a military-style operation, as Swiss police raided a luxury hotel in Zurich where FIFA officials had gathered ahead of the governing body’s annual congress.

It is alleged that bribes and kickbacks totalling more than $150 million were paid to influence FIFA decisions. Two current FIFA vice presidents were arrested: Eugenio Figueredo and Jeffrey Webb, along with Jack Warner, a former vice president who is charged with vote selling connected with the selection of South Africa to host the 2010 World Cup.

Also indicted were a number of sports marketing executives, including José Margulies, who allegedly served as an intermediary to facilitate illicit payments between the sports marketing executives and football officials.

The fraud also implicates major corporations, including one unnamed multinational sports company—identified in the media as Nike—that agreed to pay $40 million to the affiliate of the Brazilian football team to become its sole provider of equipment and gear.

Given the sordid history of FIFA, the allegations will likely have a solid foundation. Four other people and two companies have already pleaded guilty to charges in the case. Allegations of bribery have long dogged FIFA. Vast fortunes are at stake when it comes to hosting prestigious sporting events, such as the World Cup and Olympics. Bribery has become endemic in the allocation of these events.

Mass sporting events, which are backed and sponsored by gigantic corporate interests, are fundamentally managed no differently than anything else organised by big business and the imperialist powers.

The decision by the Obama administration to pursue and file the charges, however, is both hypocritical and politically motivated. Indeed, the sums cited in the criminality within FIFA are dwarfed by the corrupt practices associated with the US and global financial system.

Following the arrests, FBI Director James Comey said,

“If you corrupt our shores with your corrupt enterprise, whether that is through meetings or using our world-class financial system, you will be held accountable for that corruption. Nobody is above or beyond the law.”

Loretta Lynch, the Obama administration’s attorney general, spoke of a culture of “rampant, systemic and deep-rooted” corruption. In the attempt to justify action against individuals residing in and largely operating outside of the US, Lynch said, “In many instances, the defendants and their co-conspirators planned aspects of this long-running scheme during meetings held here in the United States.”

Comey and Lynch speak as representatives of a US elite that is guilty of criminality on a much larger scale. Their “world-class financial system” is one that allowed a parasitic elite to indulge in financial skulduggery that collapsed the world’s banking system in 2008, leading to a global recession. And they rewarded these same people for their criminal behaviour with trillions of dollars of public money.

“Rampant, systemic and deep-rooted” corruption is an apt description of the daily operations of US banks, yet no executive of a major bank has been arrested or prosecuted.

The well-documented financial corruption within football’s ruling body is being utilised by the US primarily as a propaganda weapon against Russia.

The arrests were timed to coincide with FIFA’s presidential elections. Its current chief, Sepp Blatter, was expected to win a fifth term at FIFA’s annual congress in Zurich in a vote scheduled for today.

The raid and arrests are only the opening shot. Ten other members of FIFA’s executive committee were questioned by Swiss prosecutors Thursday over the ballot in December 2010 for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, which were awarded to Russia and Qatar. The final bidders to host the 2022 World Cup included the US.

The main target of the operation is Blatter, the figure most closely associated with the Moscow and Qatar decisions, who has been president of FIFA since 1998. One federal official told the New York Times that Blatter’s fate would “depend on where the investigation goes from here.”

The decision in favour of Qatar met with immediate allegations that the World Cup had been bought. Qatar, which has no historical connection to the sport, and which had publicly spent millions on securing the lucrative deal, was widely suspected of bribery. It was, in addition, regarded as an inappropriate venue—with political and sporting figures from rival bid countries shedding crocodile tears over the deaths of hundreds of construction workers and over the fact that players would have to compete in excruciating summer temperatures.

In the aftermath of the 2010 announcements, US authorities began an investigation into the allegations of corruption. However, notwithstanding Qatar having triggered the inquiry, the decision to make mass arrests and to attempt to scupper Blatter’s election is primarily motivated by the mounting hostilities between the US and Russia.

Moscow’s hosting of the 2018 World Cup has been turned by figures with the US ruling elite and their allies internationally into a question of paramount importance.

Senator Robert Menendez, who in April was indicted on federal corruption charges, said he was “especially pleased that Swiss and US authorities are investigating FIFA’s granting of the World Cup to Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022”, as he had “long been concerned about FIFA’s selection of Russia.”

He was supported by Senator John McCain, who jointly authored a letter to FIFA declaring,

“In light of President Blatter’s continued support for Russia hosting the 2018 FIFA World Cup—despite Russia’s ongoing violations of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and other challenges to the post-WWII security architecture—we ask that you reconsider your support for President Blatter’s fifth term as FIFA President.”

This follows a letter to FIFA last month from 13 US senators requesting that Blatter step in to take the World Cup away from Russia.

It should be recalled that at the height of the Ukraine crisis, the US led an attempt to undermine the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, citing the existence of Russia homophobic laws and its record on human rights.

In April, Blatter met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, following a call by Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko for a boycott of the 2018 event. Blatter went on record to confirm that whatever sanctions were in place against Moscow by the US and the European Union would have no impact on 2018.

In a televised interview, Putin said of the arrests, “This is clearly an attempt to block the re-election of Blatter as president of FIFA and is an extremely serious breach of the principles of how international organisations work.”

Europe’s football federation UEFA has withdrawn its support for Blatter’s election. Former UEFA president Lennart Johansson, who lost the 1998 FIFA presidential election to Blatter, said that the UK should now step in and host 2018. The federation is also considering boycotting the 2018 World Cup if it is held in Moscow and Blatter is re-elected.

UK Culture Secretary John Whittingdale has said, “We’re not yet at the stage of boycotting the World Cup…but there is no question that something has got to be done.” Prime Minister David Cameron supported Blatter’s removal, he added.

Sunil Gulati, the president of US Soccer, said yesterday that he would instruct the US delegation to vote against Blatter in today’s elections, supporting instead Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan.

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Has the economy recovered or is it about to sink into another crisis? Do the shenanigans in finance that we regularly read about play a role in developing a stronger capitalism or do they cover up failures that will soon blow up in their faces? These can be mind-numbing questions, but they’re questions that activists, in particular, can’t ignore.

Profits are a particularly critical indicator of the state of a capitalist economy because they are generally understood to drive investment. Investment in turn has a determining effect on jobs, wages (to the extent that an increase in jobs increases workers’ bargaining power) and a growing tax base that can support social programs. Today, however, this link between profits and investment seems broken: while profits are booming, investment is stubbornly lagging. How are we to understand this?

For some, there is a simple answer. They square the circle by arguing that profits are actually not doing all that well. But the statistical contortions involved in making high profits disappear is a hard sell, with all the news of corporations sitting on rapidly growing hoards of cash. The head of the Bank of England (and former head of the Bank of Canada), Mark Carney, called this “dead money,” lamenting the refusal of corporations to put their profits back to work in the economy.

Madcap Buyback Binge

Another explanation receiving a great deal of attention was recently summarized by Mike Whitney in Counterpunch. He points to the reorientation of corporations to a “madcap buyback binge” of their stock which “has gotten so crazy that buying back their own stock actually exceeded profits in two quarters of 2014.” The corporate stampede to purchase their own stocks, in conjunction with the rapid rise in corporate dividends, has two significant implications. First, it seems to leave less funds for investment and innovation. Second, the increased demand for stocks artificially raises their prices and as circumstances change this leaves the stock market vulnerable to another devastating crash.

For Whitney, the increase in stock prices is obviously not a reflection of the actual strength of the American economy because he takes it as self-evident that the U.S. economy is “dead in the water.” The underlying culprit in making the stock market boom possible is the U.S. Federal Reserve as the Fed’s easy money policy (the so-called quantitative easing) encourages further borrowing – in addition to the funds available through corporate profits – to finance the stock buybacks. This has “led the country to the cliff-edge once again where the slightest uptick in interest rates is going to send the economy into free fall.”

But why is the Fed “steering the country from one financial catastrophe to the next”? Because, Whitney argues, it is part of the Fed’s commitment to ensure that – as he titles his article – “The Rich get Richer.” Since wealth in the U.S., and especially stocks, are notoriously unequally distributed (the top 10 per cent owns 90 per cent of stocks), higher stock prices sustain and increase that inequality.

The appeal of these kinds of narratives is not just the strange attraction of the Left to predictions of an economic Armageddon just around the corner. Whitney’s argument also provides simple yet powerful talking points. If the story oversimplifies the role of the Fed, it is spot on in attacking a key justification for the inequalities brought on by high corporate profits and the outrageous salaries of their executives and managers. Those inequalities are allegedly a condition for delivering jobs and general social welfare. However with corporations not actually reinvesting those profits to any degree commensurate with their profits, we end up without the jobs or social programs, and with even worse social inequality and greater economic insecurity.

Consequently, the radical issue posed is that if corporations are failing to adequately invest the surplus, why not – at a minimum – tax their socially unproductive profits and have the state use this revenue to undertake investment?[1] It is remarkable, and a sign of the Left’s weakness, that popular sentiment has not been mobilized in this direction to any significant degree. This is what makes Whitney’s analysis especially welcome. Yet his argument also slips in certain presumptions that need questioning and unpacking.

Is the U.S. Economy Dead in the Water?

Whitney implicitly assumes that an imminent stock market collapse would be economically catastrophic. Is this true? Are stock buybacks and funds for investment in fact a zero sum game where an increase in one undermines the other? Is investment really as flat as he suggests? Is it accurate to describe the U.S. economy as “dead in the water” or is the situation more ambiguous? Can we reduce the role of the Fed to being the handmaiden of the banks and the rich? And can we assume that if there is another deep economic crisis the left would be strengthened?

To begin with, the bursting of stock market bubbles is, in the first instance, a financial event. It may lead either to wider economic consequences or just occasion a temporary financial panic that is waited out. Unlike a collapse in the housing market – which directly impacts jobs across a variety of sectors and involves the primary source of wealth within the working-class – a stock market crash would not necessarily mean a precipitous collapse of the economy. That would depend on its depth, duration, what is going on in the rest of the economy and the response of the state.

As for buybacks, the fact that corporations are using their funds to purchase their own stock and increase dividends doesn’t negate the possibility of them also investing in capital equipment and structures. These are not zero-sum choices. Apple, for example, is the current corporate leader in returning funds to stockholders; it alone accounts for about 10 per cent of existing corporate cash hoards.[2] And yet Apple is also in the top rank of spenders on research and development, equipment, and structures.[3] More generally, if profits are high enough and if corporations can borrow at low interest rates, it is quite possible to both return funds to stockholders and reinvest in structures and equipment. This should be self evident from the fact that even after all their buybacks and dividend outlays, U.S. non-financial corporations are still sitting with some $1.7-trillion in cash.[4]

Moreover, it isn’t necessarily the case that returning funds to stockholders is dysfunctional to capitalist accumulation. Corporations don’t engage in stock buybacks just to increase the compensation of executives linked to stock values. Stock buybacks are also a financial tool that corporations use to maintain steady increases in their stock prices because this supports their access to cheap credit. And to the extent that corporations disburse their profits to stockholders and these stockholders in turn reinvest the funds in other companies where they expect a higher return (including new ventures), the reallocation of capital can end up strengthening capital as a whole and thus the wider economy.

The central question is, of course, whether such reinvestment is happening. Are stockholders not investing their increased wealth and, as such, no longer acting as capitalists but as rentiers (that is, consuming capital rather than regenerating it)? If stockholders are themselves not reinvesting their new funds in other companies, but only buying other financial products, a question remains as to where the funds involved end up. Do they indirectly support capital investment through the services provided (as with derivatives offsetting exchange rate risk, or funds deployed for mergers and restructuring)? And to what extent do these funds eventually find their way back to investments in productive assets?

Real Investments

These are, in good part, empirical questions. To get at them we need to first reassess whether the presumed stagnation in U.S. investment is actually true. It is undeniable that investment is low relative to the scale of profits in the economy. But with profits so high, investment can lag profits and still be significant – even if such investment hasn’t recovered to levels sufficient to consolidate a robust recovery.

Consider the data on real (after inflation) investment. If we compare gross private domestic investment in the first quarter of 2015 to where it was in 2007, the last year before the crisis, it has only increased by 5.5%, significantly lower than even the modest increase in real GDP of 9.6%. These investment figures however include the dramatic decrease in residential investment (23%). If we consider only non-residential investment, the data looks significantly better. At 10.4%, it is above, rather than below, the growth in GDP. Further, if we move beyond the most turbulent years of the financial crisis and consider only the last five years, real non-residential investment has been growing at a respectable average annual rate of over 6% (although this growth begins from a low base at the low point of the crisis).[5]

This growth in private investment is hardly spectacular, but compares favourably with public investment. Real government expenditures on investment stands 12% below where it was in 2007 and even remains below where it was back in 2003. Non-residential investment, in contrast, is today almost 40% higher in real terms than it was then. In spite of the federal stimulus from 2009-11 at the height of the economic crisis to keep the U.S. economy from falling into another Great Depression, the severe cutbacks at the regional State level has meant that overall government spending today, including both investment and consumption, remains below where it was in 2007.

So, is the U.S. economy “dead in the water”? Whitney’s unambiguous declaration is that it is, reinforced by how flat GDP has been over the last two quarters. But while raising cautions, the period is much too brief for any such definitive conclusion. Short term problems can’t be disregarded – they might circumscribe longer term possibilities – but other U.S. trends raise the odds for a continuing recovery.

Levels of employment are, for example, key drivers of household borrowing and spending on big ticket items like housing and cars and the unemployment rate has been falling toward 5 per cent. Exports are up 27% since 2007 and 75% since 2003 while imports have increased at about half that rate, 11% and 35% respectively. Bank balance sheets have been sufficiently repaired to support new rounds of investment (although the role of finance in contemporary forms of accumulation necessarily comes with high volatility and new vulnerabilities). U.S. investment has indeed been expanding abroad but foreign multinationals have also been investing heavily in the United States. Crucially, the American state has, in contrast to the 1930s, kept capitalism on the track of a liberalized global trading and investment order and confirmed its policy capacities to contain – if not prevent – crises. And, cash hoards also serve as the potential funds available to feed a boom if confidence in sustainable growth re-emerges.

That “if” is, of course, the big question. The point emphasized here is only that the possibility of a relatively sustained economic revival can’t be discounted as conclusively as Whitney and others have done. This is especially so when the labour and social movements in the U.S. (or elsewhere for that matter) represent only a minimal barrier to any necessary capital restructuring. In this regard, if the pessimists are right that renewed growth is unlikely in at least the near and medium terms, the experience of the recent crisis – with the great costs imposed on the working-class and the shift in the balance of power further to the right – suggests that there is little basis for optimism about a positive political jolt for the Left from further economic stagnation or even of a new open crisis.

Special Responsibility of the American State

Prominent liberals like Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman, and former Secretary of the Treasury Larry Summers in particular, have added weight to the argument that the U.S. is “dead in the water” by raising the specter of secular stagnation. It’s important to note, however, that they present the thesis of structural stagnation not as inevitability, but as a warning that countermeasures are necessary and can be taken. Their policy recommendations also flow from concerns with cash hoards alongside low levels of private and public investments. Individual corporations, they argue, are resorting to “waiting” for a coherent economic revival before they shift into higher investment mode. Investors are caught in a web of uncertainty about the responses of households, other corporations as well as developments in the global economy. For these liberals, a special responsibility falls on the American state to productively intervene. The enormous gap in American infrastructural needs (physical, educational and in relation to the environment), the availability to the U.S. of cheap capital, and the unrelenting and appalling growth in inequality, all clinch the case for massive government infrastructural developments alongside progressive tax reform and steps to raise wages at the bottom of the labour market.

Such a liberal revival of Keynesian spending and mild redistribution is hardly radical. Why, then, is there no generalized enthusiasm for this apparent common-sense way forward? The easy response that focuses on the hold of neoliberal ideology won’t do. Ideologies matter and frame and reinforce the practices of economic policy-makers. But they also can come into direct conflict with concrete interests and contradictions that dull their importance in the face of a necessary policy pragmatism. There were, for example, ideological predilections in Congress to reject financial aid to Mexico during its early 1990s crisis, to refuse passage of budgets containing deficits, and to oppose TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) and the bailing out of banks during the financial crisis. But under the pressure of circumstances, Congress eventually came around.

A different explanation for the resistance to stimulus is based on seeing the American state (or the Federal Reserve in Whitney’s argument) as simply a captive of finance. It is true that the increased prominence of finance in the economy pressures the Fed and the American state to be sensitive to financial structures and the confidence of bankers. These bankers do tend to be fiscally conservative and worried that excess spending may cause a bout of inflation that erodes their assets, or in extreme cases risks a default on their bond holdings. Although the risk of non-payment may be remote at the federal level, this is not the case at the state and local levels (witness Detroit). There is, as well, the example the U.S. state is determined to set for ‘less disciplined’ jurisdictions abroad.

Yet here, too, more seems at stake. After all, a growing economy is good – and safer – for banks, as well. An additional factor worth considering is that the state, supported by capital more generally and not just the financial sector, has worked hard to erode the relative significance of fiscal policy in managing the economy and is reluctant to give that victory up. The point is that fiscal intervention carries the dangers of it being inherently politicized since it brings into public discussion issues of taxes and tax distribution, of social priorities and of spending outside the direct purview of the private economy. Monetary management in contrast has the preferred advantages to elites of being carried out behind closed doors, with strict market-oriented mandates, and of operating through financial markets that discipline each of firms, workers and states to the ‘apolitical’ priorities of accumulation.

In this regard, the weakness of labour as a countervailing force reinforces the toleration of fiscal conservatism. Moreover, the persistence of austerity and restrained growth provides the state with an opportunity to further weaken labour. As long as the slower growth doesn’t threaten the survival of the banks – something that has been carefully taken care of – austerity can be used to address the longer-term goal pushed by sections of the elite: consolidating the institutional defeat of private sector unions and moving on to match that achievement in the public sector. From this perspective, the conservative fervor of the German state for austerity, even with pressures from the American state to go softer, is not just a matter of an historical legacy that is paranoid about inflation, but is also a dimension of the German state playing a leading role in consolidating European neoliberalism and ‘ratcheting down’ to the weaker welfare state and greater labour flexibility the U.S. already has.

Organizing Ourselves

American capitalism is currently characterized by both a greater role for financial markets and the weakness of the working-class. The stock buybacks that Whitney points to add to existing financial volatility, and the potential of an asset bubble leading to a significant collapse in the stock market. And the political emphasis on the link between driving up stock prices and inequality, and the failure of corporations (and the rich) to invest at levels that justify their radically disproportionate share of society’s wealth, is surely right.

But we should not underestimate the resiliency of capitalism, and the staying power of the American economy. The working-class and social movements remain in retreat, and such recent mobilizations as Fight for $15 and Black Lives Matter are limited without larger perspectives. What we need to build and prepare for is not a capitalism on its last legs but one able to stumble on and to generate profits in spite of all the volatility and uncertainty. The tasks this sets for the Left is the longer term one of winning people over to rejecting capitalism even when it is, on its own terms, functioning ‘well.’

It is our inability to organize ourselves to address this challenge rather than of focusing on how to fix capitalism that defines the failures of the Left. It is this crisis that we especially need to be talking about. •

Sam Gindin was Research Director of the Canadian Auto Workers from 1974-2000 and is now an adjunct professor at York University in Toronto. Gindin is the co-author, along with Leo Panitch, of The Making of Global Capitalism. This article published jointly by The Bullet and JacobinMag.com.

Notes:

1. See the efforts of the International Union of Food Workers to raise buybacks as a mobilizing issue.

2. Hoards are highly concentrated in the largest firms and also in certain sectors like mining and oil. The latter seems an important part of explaining why Canada stands out in the extent of its cash hoardings.

3. Apple Directors recently authorizing a return of some $200-billion to its stockholders. See: Apple, “Press Release,” April 27, 2015.

4. Eric Platt, “Top 50 U.S. Boardroom Hoarders sitting on $1-Trillion Cash,” Financial Times, May 10, 2015.

5. This and other data on the U.S. economy is from U.S. Bureau of Economic Affairs, NIPA Tables 1.1.3 and 3.9.3.

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Israel is promised $2bn of ‘Hellfire’ and air-to-air missiles plus 4100 Glide and bunker-busting bombs as U.S. prepares for a major war in the Middle East but instead, the U.S. should pay just half of that sum from the American tax-payer, i.e. only $1bn, in relocation expenses, i.e. $2635 for each settler, to bring peace not war to the region.

There is ample room for all illegal settlers to be comfortably relocated at Beer Sheva in Israel’s Negev, on Route 25 nearby the secret, underground nuclear weapons facility at Dimona where land is plentiful and belongs to Israel itself.

At a stroke, there could be a peaceful accord with Israelis living in peace in the Negev, Haifa, Tel Aviv and West Jerusalem etc and the Palestinians living on their own land in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

This should be the direction of the European Union if they are not to be again made to look foolish by the slippery Binyamin Netanyahu who has boasted that he can ‘run rings’ around the EU Commission (and, of course, the UN Congress), anytime he wants.

If there is to be an accord, then it is up to the EU who has adequate leverage to ensure that it happens – and, of course, the receipt of an additional $1bn from the United States, Republican-dominated Congress.

There obviously has to be a firm deadline set for the repatriation, after receipt of the aid monies. Any failure to conform by individual settlers should be met with penalties.  In the event that the Israeli government itself would collude with settlers in breaking the resettlement process then the EU must be prepared to finally tear-up the Association Agreement and withdraw from all bilateral trade with the Israeli state. Why is the EU waiting?

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separate article discussed US Justice Department indictments against 14 current and former FIFA officials.

Blatter wasn’t named but isn’t out of the woods. US prosecutors indicated what’s announced isn’t “the final chapter. It is not over,” they said.

FBI Director James Comey indicated “work will continue until all of the corruption is uncovered and a message is sent around the world.”

Swiss Attorney General spokesman Andre Marty said Blatter “could be questioned. (E)very person involved in the allocation of the World Cups might be questioned.”

What’s going on appears more than what meets the eye. US officials want Russia’s status as World Cup 2018 host country rescinded.

Israel wants Palestinian efforts to suspend it from FIFA competition quashed – because of unacceptable abuses committed against its footballers.

Blatter may be today’s Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who was IMF managing director from November 2007 – May 2011.  Washington wanted him ousted for urging austerity conditions imposed on countries receiving IMF loans be softened. He publicly opposed making ordinary people pay the price for financial crisis conditions caused by banksters and other corporate crooks. He was also favored to be elected French president over America’s choice.

He was set up, unjustly framed in a sex scandal. Washington got corporatist Christine Lagarde appointed IMF chief. Right-wing Nicolas Sarkozy became French president.

Is history repeating? Instead of a sex scandal, its FIFA corruption with Washington overstepping by acting outside its legal jurisdiction.

FIFA officials charged aren’t US citizens. They don’t live in America. Blatter is a Swiss national. In June 1998, he was elected FIFA president.

He was reelected three times. He’s up for a fourth on Friday, May 29.

Britain’s Tory MP Damian Collins called him “the most despicable man in sport.” He urged new votes for 2018 and 2022 World Cup host nations – challenging current ones Russia and Qatar respectively.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron called for Blatter’s resignation. He supports his opponent – Jordanian Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein.

He’s FIFA vice president for Asia. He has close Western ties. In January, he announced he’d challenge Blatter for FIFA’s top post.

In response to US corruption charges, he said “(w)e cannot continue with the crisis in FIFA, a crisis that has been ongoing and is not just relevant to the events of today.”

“FIFA needs leadership that…accepts responsibility for its actions and does not pass the blame.”

European football association UEFA head Michel Platini called for Blatter to step down.

He wants Friday’s election postponed. So does French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. Platini blustered “(w)e cannot continue like this.”

If Blatter is reelected he threatened UEFA would consider pulling national teams out of FIFA.

“(A) majority” of UEFA associations will vote for Ali,” he said, if elections proceed.

English Football Association (FA) chairman Greg Dyke said “Blatter has to go. He either has to go through a resignation, or…be out-voted or we have to find a third way.”

“(D)amage…done to FIFA…can’t be rebuilt while (he’s) there so EUFA has got to try to force him out.”

Credit card giant Visa said it would “reassess our partnership (if) swift and immediate steps to address (ongoing) issues aren’t taken. It stopped short of calling for Blatter’s resignation.

FIFA sponsors Adidas and Coca-Cola called for its reform. Hyundai Motor and Anheuser-Busch expressed concern. McDonald’s said it’s monitoring the situation.

Long US knives got Strauss-Kahn ousted on fabricated charges to install Washington’s favorite.

FIFA corruption isn’t new. Is Blatter heading for the same fate using extrajudicial FBI indictments as a pretext?

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. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

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Ukraine’s collapse since the February 2014 coup has become an umbrella for grabitization. Collateral damage in this free-for-all has been labor. Many workers are simply not getting paid, and what actually is being paid is often illegally low. Employers are taking whatever money is in their business accounts and squirreling it away – preferably abroad, or at least in foreign currency.

Wage arrears are getting worse, because as Ukraine approaches the eve of defaulting on its €10+ billion London debt, kleptocrats and business owners are jumping ship. They see that foreign lending has dried up and the exchange rate will plunge further. The Rada’s announcement last week that it shifted €8 billion from debt service to spend on a new military attack on the country’s eastern export region was the last straw for foreign creditors and even for the IMF. Its loans helped support the hryvnia’s exchange rate long enough for bankers, businessmen and others to take whatever money they have and as many euros or dollars as they can before the imminent collapse in June or July.

In this pre-bankruptcy situation, emptying out the store means not paying workers or other bills. Wage arrears are reported to have reached 2 billion hryvnia, owed to over half a million workers. This has led the Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine to picket against the Cabinet of Ministers on Wednesday (May 27). More demonstrations are scheduled for the next two Wednesdays, June 3 and 10. According to union federation Deputy Head Serhiy Kondratiuk,

“the current subsistence wage of UAH 1,218 is 60% less than the level set in Ukrainian law, which is confirmed by the calculations if the Social Policy Ministry. … the subsistence wage in the country should exceed UAH 3,500 a month, but the government refuses to hold social dialog to revise standards.” [1]

The scenario that is threatened

Emptying out Ukrainian business bank accounts will leave empty shells. With Ukraine’s economy broken, the only buyers with serious money are European and American. Selling to foreigners is thus the only way for managers and owners to get a meaningful return – paid in foreign currency safely in offshore accounts, outside of future Ukrainian clawback fines. Privatization and capital flight go together.

So does short-changing labor. The new buyers will reorganize the assets they buy, declare the old firms bankrupt and erase their wage arrears, along with any other bills that are owed. The restructured companies will claim that bankruptcy has wiped out whatever the former firms (or public enterprises) owed to workers. It is much like what corporate raiders do in the United States to wipe out pension obligations and other debts. They will claim to have to “saved” Ukrainian economy and “made it competitive.”

Operation Vulture

The Pinochet coup in Chile was a dress rehearsal for all this. The U.S.-backed military junta targeted labor leaders, journalists, and potential political leaders, as well as university professors (closing every economics department in Chile except for the Chicago “free market”-based Catholic University). You cannot have a “free market” Chicago-style, after all, without taking such totalitarian steps.

U.S. strategists like to name such ploys after predatory birds: Operation Phoenix in Vietnam, and Operation Condor in Latin America that targeted “lefties,” intellectuals and others. A similar program is underway against Ukraine’s Russian speakers. I don’t know the code word being used, so let’s call it Operation Vulture.

For labor leaders, the problem is not only to collect back wages, but to survive with a future living wage. If they refrain from protesting, they simply won’t get paid. This is why they are organizing a growing neo-Maidan protest explicitly on behalf of wage earners – so that the junta’s Right Sector snipers cannot accuse the demonstrators of being pro-Russian. The unions have protected themselves by seeking support from the UN’s International Labour Organization (ILO), and from the International Trade Union Confederation in Brussels.

The most effective tactic to tackle the corruption that is permitting the non-payment of wages and pensions is to focus on the present regime’s foreign support, especially from the IMF and EU. Using labor’s grievances as an umbrella to demand related reforms could include warnings that any sale of Ukrainian land, raw materials, public utilities or other assets to foreign buyers can be reversed by future, less corrupt governments.

In labor’s favor is the fact that the IMF has violating its Articles of Agreement by lending for military purposes. As soon as its last loan was disbursed, Poroshenko announced that he was stepping up his war against the East. This brings the IMF loan close to being what legal theorists call an Odious Debt: debts to a junta taking power and looting the government’s Treasury and other assets in the public domain, leaving future governments to pay off what has been stolen.

Labor’s fight for a living wage is not only for retroactive shortfalls, but to put in place a recovery plan to protect against the economy being treated like Greece or Latvia, neoliberal style. U.S. strategists have been discussing whether they could dismiss the $3 billion that Ukraine owes Russia this Decemb er as an “odious debt”; or, perhaps, classify it as “foreign aid” and hence not collectible in practice. Ironic as it may seem, the Peterson Institute of International Economics, George Soros and other Cold Warriors have provided future Ukrainian governments with a repertory of legal reasons to reconstitute their economy foreign-debt free – leaving the government able to pay wage and pension arrears.

The alternative is for international creditors to win the case for putting foreign bondholders, the IMF and European the IMF and European Union first, and sovereign rights to prevent self-destruction second.

Michael Hudson’s book summarizing his economic theories, “The Bubble and Beyond,” is now available in a new edition with two bonus chapters on Amazon. His latest book is Finance Capitalism and Its Discontents.  He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. Hudson’s new book, Killing the Host, will be published this summer by CounterPunch Books. He can be reached via his website, [email protected]

Notes:

[1] “Trade unions to picket government weekly from May 27, 2015,” Interfax.

http://en.interfax.com.ua/news/general/267940.html

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We the undersigned urge you to spare no effort to bring the warring sides in Yemen to implement an immediate ceasefire for humanitarian and political purposes:

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, 

United Nations, New York, NY 10017, USA

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27 May 2015

Dear Secretary General,

We wish to draw your attention to the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Yemen.

Since the statement of the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen of 4 May 2015 in which he called on the Saudi-led coalition to cease its bombing of Sana’a airport so that aid could enter the country warplanes have continued to bombard towns and cities across the country.

The coalition has ignored those calls and in fact intensified its military campaign. In recent days it has declared the whole of Saada a military target forcing tens of thousands of civilians to flee the city. However many more people remain trapped, unable to escape.

This declaration amounts to collective punishment as it is disproportionate in scale and fails to distinguish between military targets and the sanctity of civilians and civilian infrastructure, which amounts to a war crime.

The statement of Johannes Van Der Klaauw referred to the impossibility of aid agencies getting emergency medical assistance and personnel into the country when the airports, the country’s main lifelines, are being bombed by coalition warplanes. This is having a critical effect on the civilian population.

As you are aware the crisis has reached dire proportions. According to the UN’s own estimates about nine million Yemenis, over a third of the population, are believed to be in dire need of humanitarian assistance, and hundreds of thousands have become internal refugees.

You will also be mindful of the fact that Yemen is the poorest country in the Middle East and is overwhelmingly reliant on imports of food to sustain its population, many of whom were already well under the poverty line before the outbreak of the current armed conflict. The ongoing siege and blockade of Yemen by coalition forces has worsened the humanitarian situation. Only limited food is getting to the country by boat or air, with damaged airport runways now unable to receive large cargo planes after initial consignments of emergency aid were flown in. The shortages have caused the prices of whatever little food that is available to skyrocket out of the reach of ordinary people.

Residents and aid agencies are also reporting widespread fuel shortages aggravating the already fragile electricity network. Hospitals are running out of fuel to run their generators and water pumps that provide clean drinking water cannot be operated, leaving many civilians forced to drink dirty water and increasing the risk of illness and the spread of diseases.

We would also like to draw your attention to Saudi Arabia’s presence on the UN Human Rights Council, a position which is inconsistent with the numerous violations of human rights and international law Riyadh is committing in respect of Yemen.

Further to the statement of Johannes Van Der Klaauw of 4 May we urge you to exert pressure on all protagonists in the Yemen conflict to lay down their weapons so that supplies of much needed humanitarian aid can reach the victims. Particular emphasis needs to be placed on securing an end to the aerial bombardment so that Yemen’s airports can reopen their runways to receiving international aid.

We the undersigned urge you to spare no effort to bring the warring sides in Yemen to implement an immediate ceasefire for humanitarian and political purposes. A pause in the fighting would allow crucial supplies in and permit civilians to get out of combat zones and also serve as a foundation for the warring sides to come round the negotiating table with the aim of resolving their differences without further suffering and bloodshed.

Yours sincerely,

1. 5Pillars , Roshan Muhammad Salih, Editor, UK

2. Ahl albeit Society, Azzam Mohamad, Scotland

3. Ahlulbayt Islamic Mission, Samir al-Haidari, UK

4. Alternative Information Centre, Michel Warschawski, Jerusalem

5. Association for Justice, Peace and Development, Jamal Abdul Nasir, Cambodia

6. Association l’Ouverture, France

7. Campaign Against Criminalising Communities, Les Levidow

8. Central Committee Member of Ulama Association of Malaysia, Dr Fauzi Zakaria, Malaysia

9. Citizens International, S.M. Mohamed Idris, Malaysia

10. CODEPINK, Medea Benjamin, USA

11. Collectif francais pour la liberte des peoples, Syed Naqvi, France

12. Fondation Islamique et Culturelle d’Ahl-el-Beit, Mughees Husain, Switzerland

13. Free Palestine Movement, Paul Larudee, USA

14. Glasgow Ahlulbayt Association, Ahmed Khweir

15. India-Palestine Solidarity Forum, Feroze Mithiborwala, India

16. Institute for Global Dialogues

17. Institute for Islamic Civilisation, Mardani Ali Seria, Indonesia

18. Institute for Peace and Modernisation, Zainal Bagir, Indonesia

19. International Action Centre, Sara Flounders, USA

20. International Institute for Scientific Research, Sandew Hira, The Hague, Netherlands

21. International Union of Muslim Scholars, Sheikh Ahmad Awang, Malaysia

22. International Committee for Aiding Yemen and Ending the War, Hassan al-Amri, Switzerland

23. International Union of Unified Ummah, Salim Ghafouri, Iran

24. Islamic Human Rights Commission, Massoud Shadjareh, UK

25. Islamic Unity Convention, Imam Achmed Cassiam, South Africa

26. Malaysian Consulative Council of Islamic Organisations, Mohd Azmi Abdul Hamid, Malaysia

27. Mazlumder, Ahmet Faruk Unsal, Turkey

28. Mujahid, Islamic scholar, Indonesia

29. Muslim Intellectual Forum, Salim Alware, India

30. Muslim Students Organisation of India, Shujaat Ali Quadri, India

31. Muslim Youth League and Scottish Youth Forum, Sheikh Rehan Raza al-Azhari, Scotland

32. Muslimah Association of Malaysia, Datin Hajjah Aminah Zakaria, Malaysia

33. Nahdatul Ulama, Zuhairi Misrawi, Indonesia

34. Phule-Ambedkar Intellectual Forum, Kishor Jagtap, India

35. Plataforma Gueto, Flavio Almada, Portugal

36. Red-White Holy Guard, Muh Sabana

37. Scotland Against Criminalising Communities, Richard Haley

38. Secretariat for the Ulama Assembly of Asia, Sheikh Abdul Ghani Samsudin, Malaysia

39. Secular Forum India, Dr Suresh Khairnar, India

40. Shia Rights Watch, Mustafa Akhwand, USA

41. Stop the War Coalition, Lindsey German, UK

42. Syria Solidarity Movement, Eva Bartlett, USA

43. Universal Justice Network, Mohideen Abdul Kader, Malaysia

44. Universalia Legal Aid Foundation, Ahmad Taufik, Indonesia

45. Voice of Palestine, Mujtahid Hashem, Indonesia

46. Angelos Rallis, documentary filmmaker and photojournalist, Greece

47. Houria Bouteldja, activist, France

48. Ilan Pappe, academic, UK

49. Imam Asi, Imam of Washington Mosque

50. Professor Hamid Algar, academic, University of Berkley

51. Ramon Grosfoguel, academic, University of Berkley

52. Rania Madi, attorney and activist,

53. Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, Nigeria

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Britain is Set to Open the Door to Cancerous GMO

May 29th, 2015 by Steven MacMillan

This summer, British scientists are expected to begin field trials of a genetically modified (GMO) potato dubbed by proponents the ‘super spud’, whose developers boast will be free of fungal diseases and other pest problems. GMO maize and oil seed rape could also be grown in England by the end of this year, as Westminster is pushing for more GMO foods to be introduced into the UK food supply.

In March of last year, David Cameron’s chief science advisers pressed for the government to allow the cultivation and spread of GMO crops in Britain, in addition to criticising “dysfunctional” European Union (EU) regulations which at the time restricted the quantity of GMO food in the European food supply. EU law has changed since then however, allowing individual EU governments to decide whether or not to allow GMO crops to be grown in their countries, with many seeing this as a backdoor for Big-Agri to push their products on the continent. “It is a stunning defeat and will result in a massive spread of GMO crops in the EU for the first time,” was how strategic risk consultant and author William Engdahl described the move in an article for New Eastern Outlook titled: Monsanto’s Trojan Horse will eat in EU Fields.

Britain looks set to follow in America’s footsteps as the US had allowed an abundance of GMO products into its food supply.

“Currently, up to 93% of U.S. corn is genetically engineered (GE), as are 94% of soybeans and 96% of cotton (cottonseed oil is often used in food products). It has been estimated that upwards of 75% of processed foods on supermarket shelves – from soda to soup, crackers to condiments – contain genetically engineered ingredients”

according to the Center for Food Safety. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also recently approved the planting of GMO potatoes and GMO apples, further opening up the US agricultural sector to GMO crops.

Paradoxically, despite many in Washington pushing for more GMO’s, ordinary Americans are increasingly buying organic as the dangers of GMO foods becomes more apparent, with US farmers having to import organic produce to meet growing organic demand. Let’s hope this trend continues into the future, as supermarkets and other retailers will respond to consumer demand if it starts to infringe on their profits.

Monsanto’s Roundup “Probably” Causes Cancer

Despite many in the political and corporate sphere dogmatically arguing that GMO foods are safe to consume, copious volumes of scientific research completely contradicts this argument. In March, the World Health Organisations (WHO) cancer agency – the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) – conducted a study on glyphosate, the main ingredient in the most widely used weedkiller in the world, Monsanto’s Roundup. The IARC study chillingly concluded that glyphosate “probably” causes cancer in addition to revealing it was “classified as probably carcinogenic to humans”. Last year, a comprehensive report by The Ministry of Health in Cordoba, Argentina, found that in areas where GMO crops are grown and agro-chemicals are used,cancer rates are double the national average.

In 2012, Dr. Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen led a study which examined the long term health effects on rats that had consumed Monsanto’s GM corn and its Roundup herbicide. The peer-reviewed study was conducted over a 2 year period – which is the average life-span of a rat – as opposed to Monsanto’s usual period of 90 days, and discovered horrifying effects on the rats health, with a 200% to 300% increase in large tumours, severe organ damage to the kidney and liver, in addition to 70% of the female rats participating suffering premature death. The first tumours only appeared 4 to 7 months into the research, highlighting the need for longer trials. FranceItaly and Poland are among the countries which have banned the cultivation of varieties of GMO maize.

A somewhat comical episode (if it wasn’t so serious) which illustrates the glaring hypocrisy of many who promote GMO foods, was when Big-Agri lobbyist Patrick Moore was asked to drink a glass of glyphosate during an interview with French investigative journalist and filmmaker Paul Moreira. Below is a transcript of the interview:

Moore: Do not believe that glyphosate in Argentina is causing increases in cancer. You can drink a whole quart of it and it won’t hurt you.

Interviewer (Moreira): You want to drink some? We have some here.

Moore: I’d be happy to actually… Not, not really, but…

Interviewer: Not really?

Moore: I know it wouldn’t hurt me.

Interviewer: If you say so, I have some glyphosate.

Moore: No, I’m not stupid.

Interviewer: OK. So you… So it’s dangerous, right?

Moore: No. People try to commit suicide with it and fail, fairly regularly. 

Interviewer: Tell the truth. It’s dangerous.

Moore: It’s not dangerous to humans. No, it’s not.

Interviewer: So you are ready to drink one glass of glyphosate?

Moore: No, I’m not an idiot.

Moore then storms out of the interview after calling Moreira a “complete jerk”.

Controversy of a similar nature was sparked in 2010 when Downing Street refused 10 times to say whether David Cameron would eat GMO foods or serve it to his family, raising suspicions as to whether the British Prime Minister follows many other prominent political figures that only eat organic yet often promote GMO’s. Cameron has now stated that he would eat GMO and feed it to his family, although many view these comments with scepticism considering his earlier refusal to answer the question.

The Sanity of Russian Policy on GMO Foods 

In contrast to the governments in London and Washington, Moscow has taken responsible and effective action in protecting its food supply from GMO foods.  “According to official statistics the share of GMO in the Russian food industry has declined from 12 percent to just 0.01 percent over the past 10 years,” as RT reported in November of last year. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedevannounced recently that Russia would not import GMO foods and would concentrate instead on producing organic foods. “If the Americans like to eat GMO products, let them eat it then. We don’t need to do that; we have enough space and opportunities to produce organic food,” Medvedev remarked.

Russia has enacted laws which punish individuals and businesses that violate the GMO labelling laws in the country, with authorities having the power to fine violators in addition to confiscating the products. The Russian scientific community has also voiced scepticism over the safety of GMO foods. At the end of last year, leading Russian scientists urged the government to put a 10-year ban on GMO products so that researchers could vigorously study the health implications of the products on humans. This seems a logical and sensible recommendation for other governments around the world to follow (if they haven’t already), as it is clear there are serious questions over the safety of GMO’s.

The good news is that demand for organic food continues to skyrocket as people around the globe become increasingly aware of the dangers of GMO foods. Let’s ensure this trend continues into the future and we leave our children a healthy, clean and safe food supply!

Steven MacMillan is an independent writer, researcher, geopolitical analyst and editor of  The Analyst Report, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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Today the U.S. ordered Swiss police to raid, incarcerate and extradite to the U.S. six FIFA officials for alleged corruption. The raid, with obviously pre-alarmed New York Times reporters on the scene, comes shortly before a FIFA vote to expel Israel from the association.

This Friday the world football association FIFA is meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, for its 65th regular World Congress. One of the votes on the agenda (pdf) is about the “Suspension or expulsion of a member”. There is also an “Update on Israel-Palestine”.

The Palestinian Football Association has called for a vote to suspend Israel from FIFA:

The Palestinian group objects to Israeli teams playing in the West Bank. They also say Israel restricts movements of Palestinian players between the West Bank and Gaza as well as for international matches.”They keep bullying here and there, and I think they have no right to keep being the bully of the neighborhood,” Palestinian Football Association President Jibril Rajoub said of Israel. “If the Israelis are using the issue of security, I can say that their security concern is mine. I am ready to fix parameters for security concerns, but security should not be used … as a tool in order to keep this racist, apartheid policies.”

He declared the situation in the West Bank far worse than apartheid that existed in South Africa because right-wingers and extremists in Israel want to “delete Palestine.” In the 1960s, FIFA suspended South Africa for decades after it failed to comply with the association’s nondiscrimination policies. The nation was also expelled from FIFA a month after the Soweto Youth Uprising of 1976.

“I am not asking for the suspension of the Israeli association; I am asking to end the suffering of the Palestinian footballers,” Rajoub said. “I am asking to end the grievances, the humiliation we are facing.”

The vote requires a 75% majority of the 209 FIFA members. There was a good chance that it was going to be successful.

But now, just by chance, the U.S. government ordered the Swiss police to raid the hotel where the main FIFA functionaries are residing to arrest some of them on corruption charges going back to the early 1990s. The U.S. wants these to be extradited to face a U.S. court.

Also, just by chance, reporters and photographers of the New York Times happen to be in that very Swiss hotel lobby, at 6 am, to capture the incident live:

As leaders of FIFA, soccer’s global governing body, gathered for their annual meeting, more than a dozen plain-clothed Swiss law enforcement officials arrived unannounced at the Baur au Lac hotel, an elegant five-star property with views of the Alps and Lake Zurich. They went to the front desk to get keys and proceeded upstairs to the rooms.

The charges allege widespread corruption in FIFA over the past two decades, involving bids for World Cups as well as marketing and broadcast deals, according to three law enforcement officials with direct knowledge of the case. The charges include wire fraud, racketeering and money laundering, and officials said they targeted members of FIFA’s powerful executive committee, which wields enormous power and does its business largely in secret.

While some of the indicted persons are U.S. citizens one wonders what contorted maneuvers the U.S. justice department will make to claim jurisdiction over foreign national FIFA functionaries:

United States law gives the Justice Department wide authority to bring cases against foreign nationals living abroad, an authority that prosecutors have used repeatedly in international terrorism cases. Those cases can hinge on the slightest connection to the United States, like the use of an American bank or Internet service provider.

Is there corruption involved when FIFA decides to run the World Championship in this or that country? Are there kickbacks when it sells media rights? Might there be gambling going on in the casino?

Rick: How can you close me up? On what grounds? Captain Renault: I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here! [a croupier hands Renault a pile of money] Croupier: Your winnings, sir. Captain Renault: Oh, thank you very much.

Additional to their U.S. ordered raid the Swiss also feel compelled to open criminal proceedings around the 2018 and 2022 World Cup FIFA votes. The U.S. lost out against Russia and Qatar in its bid for those games and U.S. hawks still want to change that. It is not that paying bribes to be chosen for world games is unfamiliar to the U.S., but being rejected necessitates regime change at the top of the responsible organization.

In the United States it is legal to bribe politicians, via campaign financing, in practically unlimited amounts. Not one U.S. banker has been indicted for the massive Wall Street fraud that brought the world economy to a halt. The world is aware of this and it does not like the U.S. to lecture it about moral outrages. FIFA, while certainly corrupt, is also the soul of world football and the organizer of the most beloved championship in the world. If the U.S. believes that using something similar to terrorism charges against FIFA will have a positive echo in the world it is very mistaken.

Especially as the just by chance motive for this is pretty obvious.

As an Israeli journalist already gloats:

Anshel Pfeffer

Poor Jibril Rajoub. Doesn’t look like his gimmick is going to get much attention right now #FIFA

Let me guess: That was a main purpose of this raid?

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Behind the Recriminations over the Fall of Ramadi

May 28th, 2015 by Bill Van Auken

The fall of Ramadi, the capital of Iraq’s Anbar province, to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has provoked a series of charges and counter-charges over who is responsible.

The debacle reprised the collapse of Iraqi security forces in the fall of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, nearly a year ago. Nearly 10 months of US air strikes, stepped-up aid to the Iraqi military, and the deployment of over 3,000 US troops in support of Baghdad have apparently done little to contain, much less defeat, ISIS.

US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter was the most blunt, declaring that the Iraqi forces who melted away in the face of the ISIS offensive lacked the “will to fight.” Similarly, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey commented that the Iraqi security forces were “not driven out of Ramadi. They drove out of Ramadi.”

From within the Iraqi government and security forces as well as from Iran, there has been another explanation for the failure of the US intervention launched in August of last year to defeat ISIS: Washington has no real desire to annihilate the Islamist forces, its “war on terror” rhetoric notwithstanding.

The widespread acceptance of this explanation was indicated last week in a speech given by the senior commander of US Special Operations forces in Iraq, Army Brig. Gen. Kurt Crytzer. Speaking before the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference, a forum for the military industrial complex held in Tampa, Florida, he reported that it is widely believed in Iraq, including within its security forces, that the Pentagon is “re-supplying” ISIS.

“Without an effective counter-narrative, this quickly took traction, resonating with many throughout Iraq,” Crytzer said. “It’s not just the poor and uneducated that believe it.” The result, he added, was that US forces were at risk of attack from Iraqis fighting ISIS. He cited an attempt to shoot down a US helicopter believed to be ferrying arms to the Islamists and friction between American troops and their Iraqi counterparts.

Crytzer gave no indication why such a “narrative” would resonate so broadly among the people of Iraq, while the media covering his address referred to the charge of US support for ISIS as an Iraqi “conspiracy theory.”

There are no doubt “conspiracy theories”—which explain history as merely the working out of plots hatched by cabals at the pinnacle of society—but there also exist well-documented conspiracies by US imperialism in the Middle East. These conspiracies, which have not always produced the desired results, have decimated entire societies over the last decade.

As if to substantiate the Iraqi suspicions cited by General Crytzer, the US government has—in response to a Freedom of Information Act filing by the right-wing Judicial Watch group—declassified a series of documents, including one secret report produced by the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) dated August 12, 2012.

While Judicial Watch has focused entirely on the documents’ supposed substantiation of Republican claims that the Obama administration—and Hillary Clinton, in particular—“lied” about the armed attack on the Benghazi consulate and CIA facility in 2012, it and similar right-wing outfits studiously ignore the far deeper implications of the August 2012 report.

The heavily redacted seven-page DIA document states that “the Salafist [sic], the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI [Al Qaeda in Iraq] are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria,” while noting that “the West, Gulf countries, and Turkey” support the opposition; while Russia, China and Iran “support the [Assad] regime.”

The document accurately predicts that “If the situation unravels, there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria… And this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime…”

As for Iraq, the secret report continues:

“This creates the ideal atmosphere for AQI to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi… ISI [Islamic State of Iraq] could also declare an Islamic state through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of its territory.”

It should be recalled that this document was issued amid steadily escalating US support for the so-called “rebels” in Syria, with the CIA setting up a secret station in Turkey near the Syrian border to coordinate the funneling of arms, money and supplies to these forces, which, as was clearly known at the time, were dominated by Islamist elements such as Al Qaeda.

The report indicates that Washington and its allies were supportive of these forces carving out an Islamic state in Syria. And, while they saw the spread of such a state to neighboring Iraq as a likely danger, they considered this a chance worth taking in order to prosecute their proxy war for regime-change directed against Damascus and Syria’s backers—Iran, Russia and China.

It also should be recalled that this document was issued precisely at the moment that the entire international coterie of middle-class pseudo-left organizations—from the International Socialist Organization in the US, to the New Anti-capitalist Party in France, the Socialist Workers Party in Britain and the Left Party in Germany—was hailing the US proxy war in Syria as a “revolution,” and even crafting justifications for the US arming of the Islamists.

If Washington is pulling its punches in its supposed war on ISIS, it is not, as the New York Times absurdly suggested this week, out of concern for killing civilians. The US has butchered hundreds of thousands over the course of the last dozen years. Rather, it wants to preserve the Islamist gunmen, who constitute the principal fighting force in its proxy war to topple Assad, just as it employed similar forces to overthrow and murder Libya’s Gaddafi.

The US military/intelligence complex, along with its front-man, Barack Obama, is indifferent to the immense human suffering such polices inflict upon the peoples of the region. They are making their decisions based on strategic calculations in which elements such as Al Qaeda and ISIS are merely pawns in a far wider drive to assert US hegemony by means of aggression and war.

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In the lead-up to this weekend’s Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter yesterday bluntly declared that the US would continue its military provocations against China in the South China Sea.

The Pentagon deliberately inflamed tensions with Beijing last week by allowing a CNN news crew to fly on board a navy reconnaissance flight near Chinese-controlled atolls. The CNN report was designed to put a spotlight on China’s land reclamation activities. It also featured the warnings of Chinese authorities as the aircraft approached what China regards as its territory.

China issued a formal protest to the US on Monday. Its spokesperson condemned American actions as “utterly dangerous and irresponsible” and “highly likely to cause miscalculation and untoward incidents in the waters and airspace.”

Speaking in Hawaii yesterday, Carter again called for an immediate halt to China’s land reclamation activities, which the US insists are for military purposes. He made clear that the US would continue its “freedom of navigation” operations to challenge China’s territorial claims.

“There should be no mistake about this,” Carter declared, “the United States will fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows, as we do around the world.”

In other words, under the pretext of “freedom of navigation,” the US will keep sending warships and warplanes near Chinese-administered islets, risking a clash that could rapidly escalate into conflict between the two nuclear-armed powers. Even more recklessly, the Pentagon is planning “freedom of navigation” missions to enter the 12-mile territorial limit around Chinese islets.

Carter accused China of being “out of step with both international norms that underscore the Asia Pacific’s security architecture and the regional consensus in favour of a non-coercive approach to this and other longstanding disputes.”

The cynicism involved in Carter’s remarks is breathtaking. Since 2010, the Obama administration has systematically exploited the maritime disputes in the South China Sea to drive a wedge between China and its South East Asian neighbours. Carter’s references to “international norms” are particularly hypocritical. Unlike China, the US has not ratified the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Having encouraged Vietnam and the Philippines to aggressively pursue their claims against China, the US is now flying military missions, thousands of kilometres from any American territory, aimed at provoking a response from China and a major international crisis to force Beijing to back down.

The US military intervention in the South China Sea is part of the broader “pivot to Asia”—a diplomatic, economic and military strategy directed against China, aimed at securing American hegemony throughout the region. Carter declared yesterday: “We will remain the principal security power in the Asia Pacific for decades to come.”

Carter’s remarks are a prelude to a showdown with Chinese officials at the annual Shangri-La Dialogue, which starts tomorrow. At last year’s gathering, Carter’s predecessor, Chuck Hagel, rebuked China for “destabilising, unilateral actions” in the South China Sea and warned that the US would “not look the other way.”

Over the past year, the US has rapidly ratcheted up its pressure on China in the South China Sea, securing a basing arrangement with the Philippines, urging Japan to send its own patrols to the tense region and beefing up access to military bases in northern Australia. Last week’s navy surveillance flight left from the Clark Air Force base in the Philippines.

The foreign policy and military establishment in Washington is well aware that US actions in the South China Sea could lead to war.

Writing this week on the Daily Beast website, Gordon Chang identified the South China Sea as “history’s next great war zone.” Portraying China as the aggressive threat to peace, he concluded: “China’s challenge to the United States in the South China Sea sets up the classic zero sum confrontation.

“Beijing has declared that its South China Sea claims are a ‘core interest’ that cannot be negotiated. Washington, which has plied the seas from its very first days as a nation, cannot compromise its defence of the global commons. Each side can make tactical retreats, but neither can abandon its position for long.”

Chang warned: “There are two competing visions of the world, and only one can prevail.”

In reality, the “zero sum confrontation” is of Washington’s making. The Obama administration is demanding the unfettered “right” of access for the US military throughout the South China Sea, including in Chinese-controlled territory, and is also dictating the terms of China’s activities in these strategic waters. The US would regard similar actions by China in waters near Hawaii or California as an act of war.

China has already signalled that it might respond to US provocations by declaring an Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) over the South China Sea. In an interview published yesterday in the Chinese press, Ouyang Yujing, director of boundaries and oceanic affairs for the foreign ministry, declared: “China has the right to establish ADIZs.”

While downplaying the immediate likelihood, he declared: “Whether or not China will establish a South China Sea ADIZ will depend on factors such as whether China’s air safety is under threat and the seriousness of the threat.”

Such a move would dramatically intensify the South China Sea confrontation. In November 2013, when China announced an ADIZ covering the East China Sea, including disputed islands administered by Japan, the US reacted by immediately flying nuclear capable B-52 bombers into the zone.

While the responsibility for the mounting crisis lies with Washington, there is nothing progressive about the Chinese regime’s response. Incapable of making any appeal to the working class in China or internationally, the Chinese Communist Party leadership is expanding its own military apparatus, playing directly into the hands of US imperialism. This only heightens the danger of humanity being dragged into a devastating world war.

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What is the Mainstream Media NOT Reporting?

May 28th, 2015 by Global Research

In George Orwell’s oft-quoted and insightful book 1984, we clearly see how this work of fiction has become reality, and in turn how reality is turned back into fiction through the manipulative, inaccurate and deceptive reporting of mainstream media. As Orwell accurately wrote:

“Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. In this way every prediction made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct; nor was any item of news, or any expression of opinion, which conflicted with the needs of the moment, ever allowed to remain on record. All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary.”

Indeed, this is the “reality” we face when we turn to mainstream news networks, a reality coloured and created through corporate interests which reflect their own agendas instead of the truth.

For example, political leaders and the mainstream media continue to explain to us that the reason for NATO’s armed interventions is to bring freedom and democracy to the subjugated masses. However, as Global Research has been consistently pointing out through deep analysis and on-the-ground reporting, the concept of “humanitarian war” is a gross oxymoron. As Prof. Michel Chossudovsky wrote about the 2011 intervention in Libya:

“The objective of the NATO bombings from the outset was to destroy the country’s standard of living, its health infrastructure, its schools and hospitals, its water distribution system. And then “rebuild” with the help of donors and creditors under the helm of the IMF and the World Bank.” (Read: “Destroying a Country’s Standard of Living: What Libya Had Achieved, What has been Destroyed“).

Now the West and its Middle Eastern antidemocratic allies are waging a renewed “War on Terror” in Iraq and Syria against an enemy they created, once again in the name of democracy:

We are dealing with a diabolical military agenda whereby the United States is targeting a rebel army which is directly funded by the US and its allies. The incursion into Iraq of the Islamic State rebels in late June was part of a carefully planned intelligence operation.

The rebels of the Islamic state, formerly known as the ISIS, were covertly supported by US-NATO-Israel  to wage a terrorist insurgency against the Syrian government of Bashar Al Assad. (The Engineered Destruction and Political Fragmentation of Iraq. Towards the Creation of a US Sponsored Islamist Caliphate)

Turning the lens to Europe and North America, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts minces no words in describing the bleak state of the economy, with people living in poverty while funds are directed into the coffers of inflated corporate and defense funds. And true to form, the mainstream media employs distraction techniques to keep people in the dark about where their money is really going and how it is being mishandled:

“The Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank have taken the West back to the days when a handful of aristocrats owned everything. The stock markets are bubbles blown by central bank money creation.  On the basis of traditional reasoning there is no sound reason to be in equities, and sound investors have avoided them. But there is no return anywhere else, and as the central banks are run by the rich for the rich, sound reasoning has proved to be a mistake for the past six years.” (Freedom, Where Are You? “The Fed and the ECB have taken the West back to the Days when a Handful of Aristocrats owned Everything”)

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Newly disclosed Pentagon documents prove what we’ve known for a while now: the Obama administration knew as early as 2012 that weapons were being sent from Benghazi, Libya, to rebels in Syria.

The U.S. government also knew at the time that:

“the Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and [Al Qaeda in Iraq were] the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.”

But did they just “know” or was it part of the plan?

These official documents of the Obama administration add to the large  amount of evidence proving that the actual chaos and havoc wreaked by extremist groups in the Middle East was deliberately created by the U.S. and its allies and is not the result of a “failed foreign policy”.

Judicial Watch recently revealed:

The DoD documents also contain the first official documentation that the Obama administration knew that weapons were being shipped from the Port of Benghazi to rebel troops in Syria. An October 2012 report confirms:

Weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the Port of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The weapons shipped during late-August 2012 were Sniper rifles, RPG’s, and 125 mm and 155mm howitzers missiles.

During the immediate aftermath of, and following the uncertainty caused by, the downfall of the ((Qaddafi)) regime in October 2011 and up until early September of 2012, weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles located in Benghazi, Libya were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the ports of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The Syrian ports were chosen due to the small amount of cargo traffic transiting these two ports. The ships used to transport the weapons were medium-sized and able to hold 10 or less shipping containers of cargo.

The heavily redacted document does not disclose who was shipping the weapons. (Benghazi Scandal: Obama Administration Knew Weapons Were Being Sent to Al-Qaeda in Syria, New Documents Show, Judicial Watch 18 May 2015)

Although the documents do not reveal who was responsible for sending weapons to Syria, it is quite obvious from the language used in the documents that it was a US initiative and the CIA presence in Benghazi at the time suggests that US intelligence was behind this gun-running operation.

Libyan Terrorists in Syria

On September 11, 2012, the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was attacked. Four people were killed, including the U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and two CIA officers.

In August 2013, Business Insider reported :

The Agency, for its part, doesn’t want anyone knowing what it was doing in the Libyan port city.

On Thursday Drew Griffin and Kathleen Johnston of CNN reported that the CIA “is going to great lengths to make sure whatever it was doing, remains a secret.”

Sources told CNN that 35 Americans were in Benghazi that night — 21 of whom were working out of the annex — and that several were wounded, some seriously.

One source said: “You have no idea the amount of pressure being brought to bear on anyone with knowledge of this operation.”

Among the questions are whether CIA missteps contributed to the security failure in Benghazi and, more importantly, whether the Agency’s Benghazi operation had anything to do with reported heavy weapons shipments from the local port to Syrian rebels.

In short, the CIA operation is the most intriguing thing about Benghazi. (Michael B. Kelley and Geoffrey Ingersoll, Intrigue Surrounding The Secret CIA Operation In Benghazi Is Not Going Away, Business Insider, August 3, 2013)

Last January, the Citizens Commission on Benghazi concluded that the “Obama White House and the State Department under the management of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ‘changed sides in the war on terror’ in 2011 by implementing a policy of facilitating the delivery of weapons to the al-Qaida-dominated rebel militias in Libya attempting to oust Moammar Gadhafi from power”, WND reported.

WND added that

“several members of the commission have disclosed their finding that the mission of Christopher Stevens, prior to the fall of Gadhafi and during Stevens’ time as U.S. ambassador, was the management of a secret gun-running program operated out of the Benghazi compound.” (Jerome R. Corsi,Libya: U.S. Generals Conclude Obama Backed Al-Qaida and Operated a Secret Gun-Running Program in Benghazi, WND, January 20, 2015)

We’ve also known for several years that Western special operations forces were on the ground training rebels to fight against Assad.

In January 2012, Michel Chossudovsky reported:

Several articles in the British media confirm that British Special Forces are training Syrian rebels.

The underlying pattern is similar to that of Libya where British SAS were on the ground prior to the launching of NATO’s military intervention.

A Responsibility to Protect (R2P) NATO intervention modelled on Libya is contemplated… The reports confirm that British military and  intelligence operatives are already on the ground inside Syria. (Michel Chossudovsky, SYRIA: British Special Forces, CIA and MI6 Supporting Armed Insurgency. NATO Intervention Contemplated, Global Research, January 7, 2012)

Even CNN reported back in 2012 that rebels were being trained by defense contractors to handle chemical weapons:

The US and some of its European allies “are using defense contractors to train Syrian rebels on how to secure chemical weapons stockpiles in Syria,” according to “a senior US official and several senior diplomats,” CNN reports.

The US-funded training is going on inside Syria, as well as in neighboring Turkey and Jordan and “involves how to monitor and secure stockpiles and handle weapons sites and materials,” according to CNN. (John Glaser, US Defense Contractors Training Syrian Rebels to Handle Chemical Weapons, Antiwar.com, December 10, 2012)

Bashar Al-Assad Is The Target

The deadly chemical weapons were later used against Syrian soldiers and civilians. The U.S. government and the Western mainstream media tried to blame President Assad, but a UN investigation later concluded that it was  the rebels who had used the chemical weapons.

Another official document from 2012 revealed by Judicial Watch indicates that the “growing sectarian direction of the war was predicted to have dire consequences for Iraq, which included the “grave danger” of the rise of ISIS:

This creates the ideal atmosphere for AQI [al Qaeda Iraq] to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi, and will provide a renewed momentum under the presumption of unifying the jihad among Sunni Iraq and Syria, and the rest of the Sunnis in the Arab world against what it considers one enemy, the dissenters. ISI could also declare an Islamic state through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of its territory. (Judicial Watch, op., cit.)

The U.S. did exactly what was needed to create “the ideal atmosphere” for Mosul and Ramadi to fall and for ISIS to declare an “Islamic state”.

With the fall of Mosul last June, the recent fall of Ramadi in Iraq and numerous reports about the U.S. delivering weapons and ammunition to ISIS, the recently disclosed official documents show once more that the U.S. gun-running operation created “the ideal atmosphere” for Al Qaeda Iraq and “the rise of ISIS” in the region. The war against the so-called Islamic State can thus only be a flatout lie.

The following articles pertain to the U.S. delivery of weapons to ISIS while it was supposedly fighting it:

U.S. Airdrops Weapons to ISIS as Iraqi Army Makes Gains

Delivery of US Weapons and Ammunition to ISIS: Iraqi Commander Wiretaps ISIS Communications with US Military

Terrorists Supported by America: U.S. Helicopter Delivering Weapons to the Islamic State (ISIS), Shot Down by Iraqi “Popular Forces”

Iraqi Army Allegedly Downs A US Helicopter For Providing Weapons To ISIS: Report

As a solution to the problem they created, with full knowledge of the consequences, the U.S. and its allies offered a military intervention with the stated intent of fighting the enemy they had created while covertly supporting it in order to sustain the war, for the greatest benefit of defense contractors and Israel, which has the a lot to gain in the dismantlement of neighboring states.

The purpose of this “constructive chaos” is nothing less than to redraw the map of the region and create a “New Middle East.”

As Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya explained back in 2006:

The term “New Middle East” was introduced to the world in June 2006 in Tel Aviv by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (who was credited by the Western media for coining the term) in replacement of the older and more imposing term, the “Greater Middle East.”

This shift in foreign policy phraseology coincided with the inauguration of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) Oil Terminal in the Eastern Mediterranean. The term and conceptualization of the “New Middle East,” was subsequently heralded by the U.S. Secretary of State and the Israeli Prime Minister at the height of  the Anglo-American sponsored Israeli siege of Lebanon. Prime Minister Olmert and Secretary Rice had informed the international media that a project for a “New Middle East” was being launched from Lebanon.

This announcement was a confirmation of an Anglo-American-Israeli “military roadmap” in the Middle East. This project, which has been in the planning stages for several years, consists in creating an arc of instability, chaos, and violence extending from Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria to Iraq, the Persian Gulf, Iran, and the borders of NATO-garrisoned Afghanistan.

The “New Middle East” project was introduced publicly by Washington and Tel Aviv with the expectation that Lebanon would be the pressure point for realigning the whole Middle East and thereby unleashing the forces of “constructive chaos.” This “constructive chaos” –which generates conditions of violence and warfare throughout the region– would in turn be used so that the United States, Britain, and Israel could redraw the map of the Middle East in accordance with their geo-strategic needs and objectives. (Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Plans for Redrawing the Middle East: The Project for a “New Middle East”, Global Research, November 2006)

Note: The above map was prepared by Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters. It was published in the Armed Forces Journal in June 2006, Peters is a retired colonel of the U.S. National War Academy. (Map Copyright Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters 2006). Although the map does not officially reflect Pentagon doctrine, it has been used in a training program at NATO’s Defense College for senior military officers. This map, as well as other similar maps, has most probably been used at the National War Academy as well as in military planning circles (Mahdi D. Nazemroaya).

All the evidence is there to prove ISIS and their ilks are instruments of  U.S.-NATO-Israel foreign policy.

How long can the Western mainstream media ignore this overwhelming evidence that the U.S. and its allies are supporting the entities they claim to be be fighting in the Middle East without totally losing the very little credibility it has left?

Looking at the situation, Joachim Hagopian argues that the war on ISIS is just for show since its “enemy” is only gaining territory:

The US led coalition air strikes in Syria and Iraq have failed to stop the Islamic State’s expansion. Four months ago it was noted that since the US air campaign began last August, the Islamic State has doubled its space in Syria, controlling more than one third of the country’s territory. In the same way that the US predator drone warfare policy has only caused more hatred against America in the nations it’s been deployed against in Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia, the same reverse effect is occurring in Syria where residents are increasingly sympathetic to Islamic State. Additionally, Syrian opposition groups bitterly complain that the US led coalition forces fail to coordinate dropping bombs with the rebels, thus not permitting them any tactical advantage in driving IS back. It’s as if the air strikes are more for show than to actually neutralize the enemy. (Joachim Hagopian,The US-Islamic State Dance: One Step Forward and Two Steps Back – By Design, Global Research, May 19, 2015)

This war on ISIS is just another disastrous endeavor for populations in the Middle East, another military intervention under a false pretext, another lie to divide and conquer. And once more, the Western mainstream media has failed to report the truth.

Below is a selection of articles on this topic.

SELECTED ARTICLES

U.S. General: “We Helped Build ISIS” – Islamic State Obtained Weapons from U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, Paul Joseph Watson, September 03, 2014

U.S. Efforts to Arm Jihadis in Syria: The Scandal Behind the Benghazi Undercover CIA Facility, Washington’s Blog, April 15, 2014

CIA Gun-running, Qatar-Libya-Syria, Phil Greaves, August 09, 2013

Benghazi, US-NATO Sponsored Base of Operations for Al Qaeda, Tony Cartalucci, October 21, 2012

Resurgence of Al Qaeda in Iraq, Fuelled by Saudi Arabia, Zayd Alisa, 3 March 2014

More Evidence of Israel’s Dirty Role in the Syrian Proxy War, Steven MacMillan, May 18, 2015

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Now how do you top this as a geopolitical entrance? Eight JF-17 Thunder fighter jets escorting Chinese President Xi Jinping on board an Air China Boeing as he enters Pakistani air space. And these JF-17s are built as a China-Pakistan joint project.

Silk Road? Better yet; silk skyway.

Just to drive the point home – and into everyone’s homes – a little further, Xi penned a column widely distributed to Pakistani media before his first overseas trip in 2015.

He stressed, “We need to form a ‘1+4′ cooperation structure with the Economic Corridor at the center and the Gwadar Port, energy, infrastructure and industrial cooperation being the four key areas to drive development across Pakistan and deliver tangible benefits to its people.”

Quick translation: China is bringing Pakistan into the massive New Silk Road(s) project with a bang.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry, also on cue, stressed that Pakistan would be in the frontline to benefit from the $40 billion Silk Road Fund, which will help to finance the Silk Road Economic Belt and Maritime Silk Road projects; or, in Chinese jargon, “One Belt, One Road”, that maze of roads, high-speed rail, ports, pipelines and fiber optics networks bound to turbo-charge China’s links to Europe through Russia, Central Asia and the Indian Ocean.

The Silk Road Fund will disburse funds in parallel with the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which has already enticed no less than 57 countries. China’s assistant foreign minister, Liu Jianchao, has not delved into detailed numbers, but he assures China “stands ready to provide financing.”

So no wonder Pakistani media was elated. A consensus is also fast emerging that China is becoming “Pakistan’s most important ally” from either West or East.

Beijing’s carefully calibrated commercial offensive mixing Chinese leadership concepts such as harmonious society and Chinese dream with a “win-win” neighborhood policy seduces by the numbers alone: $46 billion in investment in Pakistan ($11 billion in infrastructure, $35 billion in energy), compared to a U.S. Congress’s $7.5 billion program that’s been in place since 2008.

The meat of the matter is that Washington’s “help” to Islamabad is enveloped in outdated weapons systems, while Beijing is investing in stuff that actually benefits people in Pakistan; think of $15.5 billion in coal, wind, solar and hydro energy projects bound to come online by 2017, or a $44 million optical fiber cable linking China and Pakistan.

According to the Center for Global Development, between 2002 and 2009 no less than 70% of U.S. aid was about “security” –  related to the never-ending GWOT (global war on terror). As a Pakistani analyst wrote me, “just compare Xi’s vision for his neighbors and the history of America in Latin America. It is like the difference between heaven and hell.”

That “X” Factor

At the heart of the action is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), whose embryo had already been discussed when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited Beijing in the summer of 2013. The economic corridor, across 3,000 km, will link the port of Gwadar, in the Arabian Sea, not far from the Iranian border, with China’s Xinjiang.

China is already in Gwadar; China Overseas Port Holding Company is operating it for two years now, after helping to build the first phase. Gwadar formally opens before the end of the month, but a first-class highway and railway linking it to the rest of Pakistan still need to be built (mostly by Chinese companies), not to mention an international airport, scheduled to open by 2017.

All this action implies a frenzy of Chinese workers building roads, railways – and power plants. Their security must be assured. And that means solving the “X” factor; “X” as in Xinjiang, China’s vast far west, home to only 22 million people including plenty of disgruntled Uyghurs.

Beijing-based analyst Gabriele Battaglia has detailed how Xinjiang has been addressed according to the new guiding principle of President Xi’s ethnic policy. The key idea, says Battaglia, is to manage the ethnic conflict between Han Chinese and Uyghurs by applying the so-called three “J”: jiaowangjiaoliujiaorong, that is, “inter-ethnic contact”, “exchange” and “mixage”.

Yet what is essentially a push towards assimilation coupled with some economic incentives is far from assured success; after all the bulk of Xinjiang’s day-to-day policy is conducted by unprepared Han cadres who tend to view most Uyghurs as “terrorists”.

Many of these cadres identify any separatist stirring in Xinjiang as CIA-provoked, which is not totally true. There is an extreme Uyghur minority which actually entered Wahhabi-driven jihadism (I met some of them in Masoud’s prisons in the Panjshir valley before 9/11) and has gone to fight everywhere from Chechnya to Syria. But what the overwhelming majority really wants is an economic shot at the Chinese dream.

The Pakistani counterpart to Xinjiang is Balochistan, inhabited by a little over 6 million people. There have been at least three different separatist factions/movements in Balochistan fighting Islamabad and what they call “Punjabis” with a vengeance. Former provincial minister Jaffar Khan Mandokhel, for instance, is already warning there will be a “strong reaction” across Balochistan to changes in the corridor’s routes, which, he says, “are meant to give maximum benefit to Punjab, which is already considered the privileged province.” Islamabad denies any changes.

The corridor is also bound to bypass most of the key, northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Opposition political star Imran Khan – whose party is on top in Khyber – has already condemned it as an injustice.

Beijing, for its part, has been very explicit to Islamabad; the Pakistani Taliban must be defeated, or at least appeased. That explains why since June 2014 the Pakistani army has been involved in a huge aerial bombing campaign – Zarb-e Azb – againt the Haqqani network and other hardcore tribals. The Pakistani army has already set up a special division to take care of the corridor, including nine battalions and the proverbial paramilitary forces. None of this though is a guarantee of success.

Karakoram or Bust

It will be absolutely fascinating to watch how China and Pakistan, simultaneously, may be able to keep the peace in both Xinjiang and Balochistan to assure booming trade along the corridor. Geographicaly though, this all makes perfect sense.

Xinjiang is closer to the Arabian Sea than Shanghai. Shanghai is twice more distant from Urumqi than Karachi. So no wonder Beijing thinks of Pakistan as a sort of Hong Kong West, as I examined in some detail here.

This is also a microcosm of East and South Asia integration, and even Greater Asia integration, if we include China, Iran, Afghanistan, and even Myanmar.

The spectacular Karakoram highway, from Kashgar to Islamabad, a feat of engineering completed by the Chinese working alongside the Pakistan Army Corps of engineers, will be upgraded, and extended all the way to Gwadar. A railway will also be built. And in the near future, yet another key Pipelineistan stretch.

Pipelineistan is linked to the corridor also in the form of the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline, which Beijing will help Islamabad to finish to the tune of $2 billion, after successive U.S. administrations relentlessly tried to derail it. The geopolitical dividends of China blessing a steel umbilical cord between Iran and Pakistan are of course priceless.

The end result is that early in the 2020s China will be connected in multiple ways practically with the mouth of the Persian Gulf. Large swathes of massive China-Europe trade will be able to avoid the Strait of Malacca. China will be turbo-charging trade with the Middle East and Africa. China-bound Middle East oil will be offloaded at Gwadar and transported to Xinjiang via Balochistan – before a pipeline is finished. And Pakistan will profit from more energy, infrastructure and transit trade.

Talk about a “win-win”. And that’s not even accounting for China’s thirst for gold. Balochistan is awash with gold, and there have been new discoveries in Punjab.

New Silk Road action is nothing short than frantic. The Bank of China is already channeling $62 billion of its immense foreign exchange reserves to three policy banks supporting New Silk Road(s) projects; $32 billion to China Development Bank (CDB) and $30 billion to Export-Import Bank of China (EXIM). The Agricultural Development Bank of China (ADBC) will also get its share.

And it’s not only Pakistan; the five Central Asian “stans” – rich in oil, gas, coal, agricultural land, gold, copper, uranium – are also targeted.

There’s a new highway from Kashgar to Osh, in Kyrgyzstan, and a new railway between Urumqi and Almaty, in Kazakhstan. We may be a long way away from the new high-speed Silk Rail, but trade between, for instance, the megacities of Chongqing or Chengdu in Sichuan with Germany now moves in only 20 days; that’s 15 days less than the sea route.

So it’s no wonder a “special leading group” was set up by Beijing to oversee everything going on in the One Road, One Belt galaxy. The crucial action plan is here. Those who’re about to go silk, we salute you.

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Some have said that India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, arrived at the nation’s pro-GMO position with the help of generous campaign funding from a GMO lobby, but that hasn’t stopped thousands of Indian farmers from demonstrating against Monsanto and their biotech cronies in a massive grassroots movement that shuns anti-farmer practices and genetically modified crop farming.

Shri Rakesh Tikait, National Spokesperson for the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) explains:

“The government is exhibiting its pro-industry stance by pushing for unneeded, unwanted and unsafe GMOs in our farming. We want all open air field trials of GM crops stopped immediately in the country since such open air trials pose not only a risk of contamination but also risk of trade rejection. Further, any moves towards trade liberalization in agriculture whether through the WTO route or through free trade agreements are unacceptable to us.”

The farmers recently organized and occupied the streets in a Kisan Maha Panchayat (farmer meeting) in Delhi, India, in protest at the Modi government’s anti-farmer policies.

Among the demonstrators were hundreds of women recently, as well, who have resolved to stay put on Parliament Street in India’s capital until the government engages them in a dialogue to resolve various burning issues, among them:

  • GMOs
  • Lack of fair and remunerative prices for farm produce
  • Demand for a farm income commission
  • Removing agriculture from free trade agreements including WTO
  • Adequate disaster relief for farmers
  • And more important topics that affect farmers in a country known for high suicide rates and massive GM crop failures.

Indian farmers are among some of the hardest hit by biotech chicanery. They join the ranks of millions of others throughout the world, from Mexico to Russia that don’t want GM crops either.

A similar but more intense protest recently took place in Poland as the nation’s largest farmer uprising ever involved convoys of tractors. The protest was pointed at GMO infiltration and land grabs by biotech and Big Ag corporations.

More than 150 farmers blocked roadways and held numerous demonstrations in order to bring attention to the important issue of food sovereignty in Poland. Their focus is a ban on GMOs and a restoration of small farmer’s rights after decades of oppressive health and safety regulations which take rights away from small farms and give them to mono-cropping, poisoning Big Ag mega-companies.

Just like Poland and the rest of the world, India doesn’t want GMOs. The singular reason GMOs exist in India or anywhere else is because of government corruption and infiltration by corporations like Monsanto, Dow, DuPont, Syngenta, Bayer and BASF.

Additional Sources:

Image sourced from GMWatch

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The destruction caused by Israel in the Shujaiya neighborhood of Gaza during July 2014. (Anne Paq /ActiveStills)

An Israeli military commander has been recorded ordering troops to shell medical facilities during the 2014 attack on Gaza.

Nerya Yeshurun, a lieutenant colonel, instructed that a clinic in the Shujaiya neighborhood be fired upon on 23 July last year to “honor” an Israeli soldier who had been killed a day earlier.  His statement amounts to a clear, though perhaps unintended, admission of war crimes.

Targeting civilians as an act of revenge is strictly forbidden by international law. Although Yeshurun’s orders were broadcast by the Israeli media at the time, they have not been translated before now. It is remarkable that they did not elicit comment either within Israel or internationally.

In an address over an internal army communications network, Yeshurun told his troops to “shoot a fusilade to honor and salute” Dima Levitas, a 26-year-old captian allegedly killed by sniper fire the previous day. Yeshurun instructed that the “fusilade” be directed “at the clinic from which the villains shot at him [Levitas] and took his life.”

“Prepare for shooting in memory of Dima,” Yeshurun added. “May his soul be bundled up in the bundle of life, Amen.” The funeral of Levitas was taking place at the military graveyard in Mount Herzl, Jerusalem, that day.

Yeshurun’s address was uploaded the next day by NRG, a news website owned by the US casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

According to names and figures collected by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rightsand reported by the media, at least five people were killed, four of whom were civilians, and 45 injured during the afternoon of 23 July in Shujaiya. However, it is unclear if their deaths were a direct result of the army’s ceremonious shelling.

The attack on the clinic took place while medics and civil forces in Shujaiya were still retrieving bodies of Palestinians who had been killed by Israel in an overnight massacre three days earlier. The bodies were mangled and badly charred; some victims’ identities impossible to determine. The number of people killed in that massacre has beenestimated at more than 120.

“No military necessity”

Shawan Jabarin, director of the Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq, told The Electronic Intifada he was not surprised to read the interview with Yeshurun. “But here we see the policy they have and orders they make. We are speaking about a commander shelling a clinic indiscriminately in order to participate in the funeral of his friend,” Jabarin said.

“In my opinion it is a war crime. It is clear, from the intention, the mental element, and the material element: there was no military necessity. They wanted to participate in their friend’s funeral. But they are targeting a civilian and medical object, which has special protection,” Jabarin added.

Yeshurun was the regimental commander of the Gaash unit in the Israeli military’s Seventh Armoured Brigade.

In October 2014, Bayabasha (“On Land”), an Israeli military journal, published an interview with him. In it, Yeshurun confirmed that he had instructed the unit to shell the clinic: “Personally, I loved Dima dearly … I was sorry that his company and I could not be at [the military graveyard on] Mount Herzl when he was being brought to burial, so we decided to fire a fusilade of shells toward the spot through which he lost his life during the funeral.”

According to the Bayabasha report, Palestinian militants fired back after the Israeli unit unleashed their cannons. Israel expert Dena Shunra, who translated the NRG dispatch and Bayabasha article for The Electronic Intifada, analyzed the interview and said the soldiers expressed “surprise” that shots were returned after their “funerary fusilade.”

The Electronic Intifada was unable to locate reports corroborating Yeshurun’s claims that the shot that killed Levitas came from the clinic. Even Israeli reports haven’t alleged that sniper fire from a clinic killed a soldier on 22 July.

In its report about activities by Palestinian resistance fighters in Gaza last summer, the Israeli foreign ministry makes no mention of such an attack.

And in a report specifically alleging that Hamas and other militant organizations were using medical facilities and ambulances for “terrorist” purposes, Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (an Israeli think tank) makes no mention of Palestinian fighters shooting from a clinic in Shujaiya.

“Challenging fortress”

The article in which the interview with Yeshurun appeared is a profile of the Gaash unit, a division of the Israeli military that trains soldiers for warfare. According to Shunra, Gaash is generally dedicated to training, but once war breaks out the soldiers are reassigned to combat missions. The article’s narrative presents the shelling of Shujaiya as the ultimate battle “experience” for these cadets, calling the neighborhood “the most challenging fortress of all.”

In the same article, Mordechai Kahane, a colonel in the Gaash unit, said: “We don’t go into the operation to gain experience. The operation is a necessity, forced upon us, but every time it happens, it is necessary to include as many warriors as possible, emphasizing commanders or those who are about to be commanders, so they will have this operational experience.”

Kahane is the nephew of Meir Kahane, the founder of the extreme right-wing political party Kach, which advocated for and committed violence against Palestinians. It is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States and Israel.

Using a civilian population for military training purposes is considered a violation of international humanitarian law. “But I don’t think the main point of the act was training,” Jabarin said. “The main purpose of what they did, as I understood when I read this interview, is how to terrorize and teach Palestinians a lesson. How to use civilians to pressure the resistance, without taking care of any legal principles or international laws.”

Deborah Hyams, an Amnesty International researcher on Palestine, commented: “Deliberate attacks on civilians, including medical professionals, are absolutely prohibited under international humanitarian law (IHL) and amount to war crimes. Attacks on hospitals and medical facilities are prohibited under IHL, unless the location is being used to make an effective contribution to hostilities. Even in such cases, attacking a hospital or medical facility without warning is prohibited. Furthermore, attacks conducted to exact revenge are absolutely prohibited under IHL.”

Hyams added that all incidents where there is “credible information” that international humanitarian law has been abused “must be investigated independently, impartially, promptly, thoroughly and effectively.”

This reporter contacted the Israeli military, requesting a comment about the order to attack the Shujaiya clinic. A spokesperson replied: “The incident is known by the IDF [Israeli military] and is currently under investigation.”

According to the World Health Organization, 17 hospitals and 56 primary healthcare centers were either destroyed or damaged during Israel’s 51-day attack on Gaza.

Mor Efrat, a representative of the group Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, told The Electronic Intifada that the organization documented attacks on medical teams in Shujaiya between 20 and 23 July and on 30 July, but did not document a clinic being shelled. However, Efrat said that did not mean the clinic wasn’t struck.

“The number and scale of medical facilities and teams that were attacked during the war — it’s not something that just happens. All the specific coordinates of medical facilities were given to Israelis at the beginning of war, and this information was totally ignored,” Efrat said.

Earlier this month, the organization Breaking the Silence released harrowingtestimonies from Israeli soldiers, detailing atrocities they committed during the Gaza assault. The confessions — made under the protection of anonymity — garnered widespread attention from the international media.

However, as Yeshurun’s statement and the actions of his unit make clear, officers much further up the chain of command had already admitted to, endorsed, and boasted of their war crimes. Israel has enjoyed utter impunity for its actions against Palestinians, so much so that a high-ranking commander is willing to publicly revel in the crimes he directed.

Noam Rotem contributed translation and research.

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The value of medical journals in providing physicians, researchers and other medical professionals an honest glimpse of the latest relevant, peer-reviewed medical science has greatly diminished in recent years. An extensive review published in the journal PLOS Medicine shows that medical journals today serve as little more than marketing platforms for pharmaceutical companies to push their drugs with little in the way of unbiased science.

Richard Smith, who served as an editor of the prestigious British Medical Journal (BMJ) for 25 years before resigning in 2004, warns that a bulk of the studies published in medical journals are pioneered by drug companies. More often than not, these studies push the agenda of the companies that launched them, procuring positive results that were cunningly derived through industry sleight of hand.

We’re not talking about pharmaceutical advertising here, which is also highly endemic in terms of conflicts of interest. We’re talking about studies — mainly randomized clinical trials — launched by drug companies that arrive at predetermined outcomes and are widely perpetuated in the medical literature to create the illusion that drugs and vaccines are safe and effective.

“Journals have devolved into information laundering operations for the pharmaceutical industry,” wrote Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet journal, back in March 2004, just one year before Smith published the review in question.

It’s not so much drug advertising as it is sponsored trials that corrupt medical journals

Although pharmaceutical advertising renders the quality of what’s been published in a given medical journal questionable, at least readers of that journal can see these advertisements and determine how seriously to take the contained studies. However, when the studies themselves are industry-sponsored and this is not disclosed, things get messy.

“A large trial published in a major journal has the journal’s stamp of approval (unlike the advertising), will be distributed around the world, and may well receive global media coverage, particularly if promoted simultaneously by press releases from both the journal and the expensive public-relations firm hired by the pharmaceutical company that sponsored the trial,” writes Smith.

“For a drug company, a favourable trial is worth thousands of pages of advertising, which is why a company will sometimes spend upwards of a million dollars on reprints of the trial for worldwide distribution. The doctors receiving the reprints may not read them, but they will be impressed by the name of the journal from which they come. The quality of the journal will bless the quality of the drug.”

Up to 75% of clinical trials published in major journals like JAMA, Lancet, NEJM, and Annals of Internal Medicine are industry-sponsored

Then there’s the issue of what’s actually being published in many of the world’s most well-respected medical journals. Upon investigation, Smith found that upwards of 75 percent of what is being published today in journals like Annals of Internal Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) are trials that have been directly funded by industry.

Smith’s systematic review uncovered that drug companies have become very adept at reaching the conclusions they desire by manipulating randomized trials. This is not necessarily accomplished through direct fraud (although that happens as well), but instead it occurs by engaging in what Smith says is “asking the ‘right’ questions.”

“The companies seem to get the results they want not by fiddling the results, which would be far too crude and possibly detectable by peer review, but rather by asking the ‘right’ questions,” Smith writes.

These include:

• Conducting a trial of a given drug against a treatment known to be inferior
• Conducting a trial against too low of a dose of a competitor drug
• Conducting a trial against too high of a dose of a competitor drug, making the drug in question seem less toxic
• Conducting a trial that is too small to show differences from competitor drugs
• Using multiple endpoints in a trial and selecting for publication only those that provide favorable results
• Conducting multi-center trials and selecting for publication only those that reach favorable results
• Conducting subgroup analyses and selecting for publication only those that are favorable
• Presenting results that are most likely to impress, such as showing a reduction in relative as opposed to absolute risk

Sources for this article include:

http://journals.plos.org

http://journals.plos.orgPNG

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KIEV — The Ukrainian Agriculture Business Association (UCAB) on Tuesday urged the government to lift its ban on farmland sales so as to spur the development of the agro-food sector.

“We suggest establishing the market of agricultural land starting from January 1, 2016 through selling state-owned farmland by auction,” Alex Lissitsa, head of the UCAB, told a press conference.

Lissitsa said that the sales of private farmland should be launched as the second phase of the land market reform.

Lifting a moratorium on farmland sales will increase competition in the market and open new opportunities for agro-businesses, Lissitsa said.

Ukraine, with around 42 million hectares of agricultural land, imposed a moratorium on farmland sales in 1992, which expires on Dec. 31 this year.

Earlier this month, Ukrainian Agricultural Minister Olexiy Pavlenko said that the moratorium could be further extended as the crisis-hit country needs at least 100 million U.S. dollars to carry out the farmland market reform. After land privatization in 1996, Ukrainian land owners work with farmers under lease agreements.

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Follow the GMO Money Trail

May 28th, 2015 by Global Research News

As the saying goes “Follow the money” and you will likely find the root of the matter.

In the case of GMOs, the manufacturers that own and patent the seeds and chemicals that have overtaken our food supply seem to have only one primary objective: money.

I’m a capitalist at heart, but what GMO manufacturers are doing is not capitalism. It’s crony capitalism at best, bullying, corruption and legislative manipulation at worst. 

Beth Beisel: In 1996 genetically modified foods were first allowed into our food supply in America.

Patrick Gentempo, D.C.: The GMO machine has been extraordinarily effective in squelching the conversation.

Nancy Weiser: The biggest problem with genetically modified organisms or genetically engineered foods is that we don’t know the long-term outcome.

Patrick Gentempo, D.C.: And to show how strong the agenda is, how could anyone argue against at least labeling foods GMO?

If they have nothing to hide, if GMOs are safe and effective or propose any threat to individuals who consume them, why would you be worried about putting it on the label of the food that you sell?

Nancy Weiser: There’s something that seen kinda sneaky about people manufacturing food and researching it and engineering it and marketing to us and for some reason or other they don’t want to tell us what’s in it?

I find that odd. I know that if you buy, you know, a shirt or a pair of pants, it has to say that it’s 90% cotton and 10% lycra. So I wanna know what’s in my food if I know what in my pants.

Patrick Gentempo, D.C.: We have supposedly some parts of our government that are designated to protect our interests these people are paid with our tax dollars to safeguard our well-being in these realms. Yet it’s not happening.

So now let’s look at the FDA, let’s look at the FTC, let’s look at our regulators.

Beth Beisel: I think it’s because most the FDA and EPA and USDA are infiltrated with appointed, very high level executives that came from the biotech industry.

Patrick Gentempo, D.C.: It’s the wealth of the force behind the GMO initiative that’s causing this to occur. What’s for sale?

It can be bought. The hearts and minds of the culture and the compulsion to force them into behaviors can be bought.

Nancy Weiser: So we have a huge challenge on our hands to re-educate people from the top down and from the bottom up.

You know, from their gut and from their head.

Patrick Gentempo, D.C.: The reality is there are other countries who have said no to GMOs.

They’ve looked at it and said “this is disturbing there’s not enough evidence we’ve made a choice not to do this”. But we’re supposed to be in the United States, the land of the free where those types of things don’t happen but this is such a issue as far as saying “this is scary, this is disturbing, this is unknown”, but other countries who technically might be less free as far as individual rights are concerned are saying no to GMOs until their’s more data.

Yet here we say yes.

It’s indefensible, obviously there is something to hide, obviously there is a concern, obviously they think that individual consumers given the choice would prefer not to buy that food. So what is their solution?

Don’t let them know they’re buying that food.

That to me as I feel even the hairs on the back of my neck standing up is evil personified.

Beth Beisel: What I would like to say to the biotech industry and the food industry is stop messing with my children’s health,  with my husbands health, with my family’s health.

Enough is enough, let’s go back to real food, conventional farming without GMOs and taking care of the people and putting the people first, not profits.

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Support the Donbass Journalism and Humanitarian Aid Project

May 28th, 2015 by Global Research News

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Reports indicate Netanyahu proposed establishing boundaries on settlement blocs – on the one hand to justify continuing illegal construction on stolen Palestinian land.

On the other, for Israel to annex under any peace agreement. Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said the proposal was always Netanyahu’s position – so “nobody should be surprised.”

“(E)veryone in the Likud knows if there will ever be a partner for peace, it is clear there will be territorial concessions” – code language for grand theft with Palestinians having no say whatever over what’s rightfully theirs.

Israel already controls over 60% of West Bank land and much of East Jerusalem. Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel called Netanyahu’s proposal “dangerous and precedential.”

It contradicts government guidelines for Jews to have all Judea and Samaria, he said.

Netanyahu’s proposal is little more than a PR stunt. He publicly rejected peace talks as a waste of time. He fundamentally opposes Palestinian statehood. He wants unlimited settlement construction.

Senior Palestinian Authority officials rejected his PR stunt. Chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said:

“It’s a request to continue illegal settlement construction with Palestinian consent. This looks like one state and two systems rather than two sovereign and democratic states.”

“If Mr. Netanyahu wants to have meaningful negotiations ending the occupation that began in 1967, he should recognize a Palestinian State on the 1967 border and honor Israel’s obligations including a halt of settlement construction and the release of the Palestinian prisoners.”

PLO official Hanan Ashrawi blasted Netanyahu calling his scheme a “disingenuous and manipulative exercise of political and legal deception.”

“All settlements are illegal and in flagrant contravention of international law and consensus, and any efforts to annex and to legalize the settlement blocs is a blatant attempt to steal more Palestinian land and to legitimize Israel’s ongoing system of apartheid, land theft and expansion.”

Talks with Israel should be based on international law with a binding timetable for ending occupation and removing settlements, she stressed. Nothing less is acceptable.

In nearly 50 years of occupation, Israel never negotiated in good faith. Why expect a new leaf under the most ruthless regime in its history.

Israel steals Palestinian land regularly for exclusive Jewish development. Entire Palestinian villages are destroyed to ethnically cleanse Arabs.

Homes are lawlessly bulldozed. Families are uprooted. When Israel wants Palestinian land, it steals it.

On May 26, Haaretz reported one example, saying “Israel Defense Forces’ Civil Administration transferred hundreds of meters of private (Palestinian) land…to the West Bank settlement of Shim’a.

The Samsaras family lost their property. Their High Court petition to halt construction was rejected. Justice Anat Baron said work in the area stopped so there was no need for court intervention.

A Final Comment

While Netanyahu pretended to turn a new leaf, his security force thugs critically injured a 10-year-old Palestinian boy.

Fishermen and farmers were attacked. Palestinian communities were terrorized. Gaza remains repressively besieged for political, not security reasons.

Palestinian Legislative Council Speaker Aziz Dweik was sentenced to one year in prison and a 6,000 shekel fine for belonging to the wrong political party.

Children continue being tortured during interrogations for the alleged crime of stone-throwing.

Noor Muhammad Hilmi Hamamrah is one of countless victims. His mouth was forced open. Interrogators began prying off his braces. He was threatened with having all his teeth ripped out if he didn’t confess to throwing stones at Israeli cars.

On May 26, the Al Haq human rights group said Palestinian land annexation is increasing. Settlements are expanding. Settlers attack Palestinians with impunity – on average multiple times weekly.

Abuses on Netanyahu’s watch are horrific. The only new leaf he’ll turn is making them worse than ever.

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Washington Wages War on International Soccer

May 28th, 2015 by Stephen Lendman

Is there more to what’s going on than meets the eye? In January 2011, FIFA president Sepp Blatter and Russian Sports minister Vitaly Mulko signed a declaration on Russia’s official status as 2018 World Cup host nation.

At the time, Vladimir Putin said Russia would “use the experience…already gained in preparing for the Sochi Olympics in 2014.”

Blatter expressed “certain(ty) that the World Cup (would) be held at the highest level and…turn into a truly magnificent event.”

Russia won out over Britain, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal. It plans to host the event in 13 cities. It intends making it first-class world event.

In April, 13 US influential senators wrote Blatter “strongly encourag(ing)” him to replace Russia with another host country,” saying:

“Allowing Russia to host the FIFA World Cup inappropriately bolsters the prestige of the Putin regime at a time when it should be condemned and provides economic relief at a time when much of the international community is imposing economic sanctions.”

FIFA spokeswoman Delia Fischer responded, saying:

“History has shown so far that boycotting sport events or a policy of isolation or confrontation are not the most effective ways to solve problems.”

The World Cup “can achieve positive change in the world, but football cannot be seen as a solution for all issues, particularly those related to world politics.”

Blatter said “the World Cup in Russia will be able to stabilize all the situation in this region of Europe that is suffering now.”

Is charging 14 current and former FIFA officials with various criminal offenses a thinly veiled scheme to continue bashing and trying to isolate Russia?

Everything done so far failed. Master chess player Putin outmatches his US counterpart. However charges against current and former FIFA officials are resolved, expect Russia to remain 2018 World Cup nation likely matching its successful 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

Another issue is Israel. Palestinian officials want it suspended from FIFA participation because of systematically violating Palestinian footballer rights – including harassment, travel restrictions, lawless arrests, and other racist apartheid actions.

Last March, the Palestinian Football Federation (PFA) submitted a motion to FIFA calling for Israel’s suspension until it complies with the following conditions:

  • letting football participants and all equipment related to the sport  move freely in, out and within Palestine;
  • no longer obstruct or otherwise prevent the building and maintenance of Palestinian football facilities;
  • banning football clubs in illegal Israeli settlements from Israeli Football Federation (IFA) competitions;
  • requiring IFA to take firm action to eliminate racist, apartheid practices within its own leagues; and
  • requiring IFA to recognize the PFA as the sole governing body for football within Palestine.

These conditions address longstanding grievances – so far without resolution. Palestinian officials say suspending Israel is needed to change things.

Instead of going after war criminals, CIA and Pentagon torturers, banker mega-crooks, other corporate thieves, corrupt politicians on the take, dirty cops, and other major US offenders demanding prosecution, Washington targeted the Zurich, Switzerland-based International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) outside its jurisdiction.

It’s pressuring Swiss authorities to extradite FIFA officials to America to face criminal corruption charges.

The timing of the indictments and arrests wasn’t coincidental – two days before FIFA’s annual general meeting with its officials in one place at a luxury Zurich hotel.

Blatter is up for reelection. So far he’s not charged. According to US officials, he’s not cleared yet. Whether what’s ongoing affects his reelection remains to be seen.

A 47-count indictment charges 14  individuals with racketeering, bribery, wire fraud and money laundering among other offenses as part of “a 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through the corruption of international soccer,” according to the Justice Department.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch said “(t)he indictment spans at least two generations of soccer officials who, as alleged, have abused their positions of trust to acquire millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks.”

“Today’s action makes clear that this Department of Justice intends to end any such corrupt practices, to root out misconduct, and to bring wrongdoers to justice – and we look forward to continuing to work with other countries in this effort.”

America and Switzerland have an extradition treaty. A Swiss judge will decide what happens next. Even if extradition is ordered, individuals affected can appeal.

So-called “dual criminality” is a requirement many countries observe – namely that crimes alleged by one nation are recognized as such by the other before extradition can be considered.

The legal process in this case is expected to take months to work its way through Switzerland’s judicial process – maybe much longer if appeals are made.

Some earlier cases dragged on for years. If extradition is rejected, Washington would likely issue so-called “red notices” to authorities in other countries – meaning individuals charged would risk arrest and extradition to America if they travel abroad.

According to international law experts, Switzerland is one of the world’s toughest places to win extradition cases – especially on tax related charges.

Some high-profile individuals successfully contested US extradition requests – notably film director Roman Polanski.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry responded sharply to Washington’s indictments – saying it extended its legal authority improperly “far beyond its borders.”

“Without going into the details of the accusations…this is clearly another case of illegal extraterritorial use of US law.”

“We hope that this will not in any way be used to cast a shadow on the international football organization as a whole and its decisions.”

“Once again we are calling on Washington to stop attempts to make justice far beyond its borders using its legal norms and to follow the generally accepted international legal procedures.”

Putin called FIFA indictments “an obvious attempt to spread (US) jurisdiction to other states (and) prevent Mr. Blatter’s reelection…which is a gross violation of the principle of functioning international organizations.”

“(T)he United States has no relation to” FIFA affairs. The individuals charged “are not US citizens, and if some event has taken place, it happened not on US soil…”

FIFA and Olympic competition are more about profiteering, exploitation and corruption than sport. Yet little is done to change things.

So why now? Why target FIFA – especially at this time? Draw your own conclusions.

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. 

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

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Over many decades, Israel’s self-serving deceptions about the Nakba in 1948 have been exposed for the lies Palestinians already knew them to be.

It was long accepted in the west that, as Israel claimed, Palestinians left their homes because they had been ordered to do so by neighbouring Arab leaders. The lie usefully distracted diplomats and scholars from the much more pertinent question of why Israel had refused to allow 750,000 Palestinian refugees to return to their homes after the war finished, as international law demanded.

The myth about the Arab leaders’ order, which had been steadily undermined by the work of the “new historians” of the late 1980s, was decisively punctured two years ago by an Israeli scholar who was given the wrong file by Israeli army archivists. It showed the story of the Arab leaders’ order was concocted by Israeli officials.

The same files should also have ended an equally diverting and lengthy debate about how many Palestinian villages Israel ethnically cleansed in 1948. Most Palestinian scholars were agreed it was well over 500; Israeli experts variously claimed it was between 300 and 400. Not that hundreds of ethnically cleansed villages was not bad enough, but Israel was happy to engage in a debate designed to make Palestinians look like inveterate exaggerators. Again, Israel’s archives confirmed the Palestinian account, with 530 villages razed.

Now another, related deception has been exposed. For decades Israel’s supporters have been arguing that Haifa, one of Palestine’s most important cities, was not ethnically cleansed of its population. The tens of thousands of Palestinians who fled under Israeli attack in April 1948 were later urged to return, according to Israel’s supporters, but they chose not to. Further proof, it seemed, that the Palestinians had only themselves to blame for losing their homeland. They chose to stay away.

Strangely, none of Israel’s propagandists ever seriously tried to suggest that the other 700,00 or so Palestinian refugees had been invited back home. It seemed as if the welcome supposedly extended in Haifa was reason enough for all Palestinians in exile to put aside their fears of Israel’s shoot-to-kill policy at its new borders and make the journey home.

But now a letter signed by David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister and the engineer of its ethnic cleansing policy in 1948, shows that, far from Haifa’s doors being thrown open, Ben Gurion ordered that the refugees be barred from returning.

Written on 2 June 1948, the letter was sent to Abba Khoushy, soon to become Haifa’s mayor. It states:

“I hear that Mr. Marriot [Cyril Marriot, the British consul in Haifa] is working to return the Arabs to Haifa. I don’t know how it is his business, but until the war is over we don’t want a return of the enemy. And all institutions should act accordingly.”

Of course, that policy was not reversed after the war, as Ben Gurion hinted it might be. And one can wonder how much more specific his orders were to his army commanders if this was what he was telling civilian administrators.

The myth about Haifa was encouraged by Golda Meir, who wrote in her autobiography that Ben Gurion told her:

“I want you to immediately go to Haifa and see to it that the Arabs who remain in Haifa are treated appropriately. I also want you to try and persuade the Arabs who are already on the beach to return home. You have to get it into their heads that they have nothing to fear.”

Meir added: “I went immediately. I sat on the beach there and begged them to return home… I pleaded with them until I was exhausted but it didn’t work.”

Heartbreaking – if only it were true.

How much longer must we wait to explode all the other myths associated with the Nakba, and much of Israel’s history ever since?

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Originally published in December 2011: Progressive Eclipse – Chapter Ten: Sandia, Citizens United, and Smart Meters

Everyone was talking about the one percent, the few with most of the wealth. The inequality that Bernie Sanders had railed against since his first campaign was becoming indisputable. Therefore, it wasn’t surprising that he was one of the first elected officials to back the Occupy Wall Street movement. Sanders offered practical proposals to address some of its complaints and praised protesters for “shining a national spotlight on the most powerful, dangerous and secretive economic and political force in America.”

Occupy Wall Street Protest, October 2011

He was also leading the charge to have Congress consider a Constitutional Amendment to address a radical Supreme Court ruling. On Jan. 21, 2010, in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case, the nation’s High Court said that corporations are “persons” with First Amendment rights and can’t be prevented from spending unlimited funds on political campaigns.

The case had begun in 2008 with a dispute over the right of a non-profit corporation to air a film critical of Hillary Clinton, and whether the group, Citizens United, could promote their film with ads featuring Clinton’s image – an apparent violation of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, also known as McCain–Feingold. The Supreme Court struck down the McCain–Feingold provision that prohibited corporations – both for- and non-profit, as well as unions – from broadcasting “electioneering communications” within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary. It did allow for disclaimer requirements and disclosure by sponsors of advertisements.

The problem went back to the 1970s, when Congress amended the Federal Election Campaign Act in an attempt to regulate campaign contributions and spending. After that, in the controversial 1976 Buckley v. Valeo case, the Supreme Court ruled that spending money to influence elections is constitutionally protected speech and struck down parts of the law. It also ruled that candidates could give unlimited amounts of money to their own campaigns.

Prior to Citizens United, however, a century of US election laws prohibited corporate managers from spending general treasury funds in federal elections. Instead, they could expend on campaigns through separate segregated funds, known as corporate political action committees. Shareholders, officers and managers who wanted a corporation to advance a political agenda could contribute funds for that purpose. But the Supreme Court’s new ruling said that corporations had the same First Amendment rights to make independent expenditures as natural people, and restrictions prohibiting both corporations and unions from spending their general treasury funds on independent expenditures violated the First Amendment.

According to Robert Reich, a public policy expert and former Secretary of Labor, Citizens United would extent corporate control and drive up the cost of future presidential races. “All this money is drowning out the voices of average Americans,” he noted. “Most of us don’t have the dough to break through. Giving First Amendment rights to money and corporations has hobbled the First Amendment rights of the rest of us.”

The growing influence of corporations made the emerging relationship between Sandia Laboratories and Bernie Sanders somewhat perplexing. Sandia was managed by Lockheed Martin for the Department of Defense, had roots in the Manhattan Project and a history of turning nuclear research into weapons. Most of its revenue still came from maintaining and developing defense systems. Beyond that, as Sanders himself had frequently charged, Lockheed Martin ranked at the top of the heap in corporate misconduct. Between 1995 and 2010 it was charged with 50 violations and paid $577 million in fines and settlements. Sanders, an opponent of the Iraq war and wasteful military spending, had been a vocal congressional critic for more than a decade. It exemplified corporate excess and the one percent.

In the mid-1990s, he’d led the charge against $92 billion in bonuses for Lockheed Martin executives – nearly $31 million of that received from the Department of Defense as “restructuring costs” – after the corporation laid off 17,000 workers. He called that “payoffs for layoffs.” In September 1995, after his amendment to stop the bonuses passed in the US House, Lockheed launched a campaign to kill the proposal. When the amendment came back to the floor, Sanders decided that it still contained too much for the military and opposed it himself.

In 2009, he was still going after Lockheed in the Senate, calling out its “systemic, illegal, and fraudulent behavior, while receiving hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money.” By then, however, he had visited Sandia headquarters and come away eager to have a satellite lab in Vermont.

Learning to love Sandia

In January 2010, Sanders led a delegation to Sandia’s New Mexico lab for a closer look. The group included the CEO of Green Mountain Power, the state’s leading private utility; the vice president for research at the University of Vermont; the co-founder of successful alternative energy companies; and the head of the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, which runs Efficiency Vermont.

At the end of the same year, ten days after the mini-filibuster that jump-started the “draft Bernie” for president campaign, Mayor Bob Kiss announced the results of his own Lockheed negotiations, begun at billionaire Richard Branson’s Carbon War Room. It took the form of a “letter of cooperation” to address climate change by developing local green-energy solutions.

Lockheed’s proposal to the city focused on “the economic and strategic challenges posed by our dependence on foreign oil and the potential destabilizing effects of climate change.” Their partnership would “demonstrate a model for sustainability that can be replicated across the nation.” Meanwhile, the Vermont Sandia lab, simultaneously being developed at UVM with Sanders help, would focus on cyber security and “smart grid” technology. Yet Kiss and Sanders denied knowing about the partnership being negotiated by the other. Both Burlington’s Progressive mayor and its famous former mayor-turned-Senator apparently saw no need to consult. Yet somehow everyone was on the same page.

By 2011, Sanders was also supporting the Pentagon’s proposal to base Lockheed-built F-35 fight jets at the Burlington International Airport. Despite his past criticisms of the corporation’s serial misconduct and excess, he joined with Vermont’s most enthusiastic booster, Senator Patrick Leahy, signing on to a joint statement of support. If the fighter jet, widely considered a massive military boondoggle, was going to be built and deployed anyway, Sanders argued that some of the work ought to done by Vermonters, while Vermont National Guard jobs should certainly be protected. Noise impacts and neighborhood dislocation were minimized, while criticism of corporate exploitation had given way to pork barrel politics and a justification based on protecting military jobs.

Still, his position hadn’t changed that much. Sandia’s nuclear associations were never a major obstacle; Sanders had once been pro-nuclear power, and his criticisms were restrained. His stalwart alliance with labor had always outweighed his skepticism about military spending. And his corporate criticism, which focused on fairness and inequality, rarely prevented him from making an alliance that furthered “bold” initiatives or burnished his record of leadership.

Pushing the partnership: Sandia’s Rich Stulen presents, Powell, Shumlin and Sanders listen.

When Vermont’s partnership with Sandia was ultimately announced, Governor Peter Shumlin didn’t merely share the credit for bringing the Center for Energy Transformation and Innovation to Vermont. He joked that Sanders was “like a dog with a bone” on the issue. They had agreed to co-host a press conference on December 12 to outline the initiative, which now included Sandia, UVM, Green Mountain Power, several Vermont energy businesses and state government. The ambitious goal, announced the Senator, was to create “a revolution in the way we are using power.” At this point the “Draft Bernie” for president campaign was underway and running as a Democrat, most likely in 2016, was on the table.

For the next three years, Sandia’s new outpost would have up to $15 million to research energy efficiency, develop renewable and “localized sources” and, according to Sanders, make Vermont “the first state to have near-universal smart meter installations.” Shumlin meanwhile announced a Sandia pledge to invest $3 million a year, along with $1 million each from the Department of Energy and state coffers.

Several enthusiastic backers – Sandia VP Richard Stulen, GMP’s Mary Powell, and UVM’s Acting President John Bramley – joined the governor at Sanders’ Burlington office for the launch. For Sandia, it was “a way to understand all of the challenges that face all states,” Stulen explained. Vermont’s size simply made it more possible “to get something done,” especially since “integration” had already begun with the university, utilities and other stakeholders.

It didn’t hurt that Vermont’s reputation for energy innovation had also attracted $69.8 million in US Department of Energy funding to promote a rapid statewide conversion to smart grid technology. This would be matched by another $69 million from Vermont utilities. The goal was to “turn the grid from a one-way into a two-way street,” Stulen announced. Another focus would be to ensure reliable service. That meant “anticipating any cyber challenges that may be opened up, or vulnerabilities that may be opened up as we move to this new future,” he explained. “Sandia is very much in the forefront of cyber research.”

Sanders’ statement stressed the more provincial point that although the US had 17 national labs doing “cutting edge research,” none of them were yet located in New England.  “It occurred to me,” he explained, “that we have the potential to establish a very strong and positive relationship with Sandia here in the State of Vermont.” Thus, his intention was to turn the three-year arrangement into “a long-term presence.” By implication, Lockheed Martin had gone from corporate scofflaw to valued research partner.

Vermont as testing ground

“From an environmental, global warming and economic perspective, it is enormously important that we transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy,” Sanders argued at the launch. “And working with Sandia and their wide areas of knowledge – some of the best scientists in the country – we hope to take a state that is already a leader in some of these areas even further.”

For many activists and progressives, it sounded more like corporate “greenwashing” than a bold step forward.

Shumlin called it “a really exciting development” for the state.

“We have an extraordinary opportunity to show the nation how to use smart grid, how to use energy efficiency to save money for businesses, and for consumers. And how to insure that Vermont is the leader in getting off our addiction to oil.”

He noted that when people asked him how Vermont had snagged so much money for the project, his answer was the partnership the center would represent. “It’s a huge opportunity and a huge accomplishment.”

On the other hand, there was little dispute that having so many interactive devices on two-way networks would create new risks. In fact, Kenneth van Meter, Lockheed’s manager of energy and cyber services, admitted it, predicting that by 2015 there would be “440 million new hackable points on the grid. Nobody’s equipped to deal with that today.”

Asked about cyber threats, Stulen acknowledged that “more portals” certainly did create more potential threats, but countered that “we think this is a manageable situation. In fact, the benefits far outweigh the risks.” The main benefit was the potential for lower utilities bills by monitoring home energy use. But security would also be a focus. “We don’t see it as an overriding issue right now, but as a national laboratory our job is to anticipate the future,” he said.

Smart Meters, the basic unit of a smart grid, are digital, usually wireless utility meters with the ability to collect information and transmit it to a central location. Supporters claim their widespread use will improve energy efficiency, service reliability, and the environment. Critics counter that they also make the power grid more vulnerable to hacking, have potential radiation-related health effects, and don’t really reduce energy consumption. They also charge that “time-of-use” pricing penalizes people who can least afford it, while a centralized grid threatens privacy and gives corporations more access to private data.

Smart meters have also been linked to fires and other damage, but aren’t covered by homeowners insurance because the devices haven’t been industry-approved. Needless to say, such problems and potential side effects didn’t come up at Sanders’ press conference.

Instead, the Senator explained that

“the federal government has invested $4 billion in smart grid technology, and they want to know that we’re going to work out some of the problems as other states follow us. So Vermont, in a sense, becomes a resource for other states to learn how to do it, how to overcome problems that may arise.”

Another way to put that: Vermont would be a testing ground, Sandia’s smart grid guinea pig.

It was a good example of Sanders’ style and pragmatism, leveraging Vermont’s assets in a privately negotiated arrangement, a public-private partnership with PR value and short-term economic benefits – but unknown long-term consequences. And justifying the high-level deal on the grounds of leading the nation, a transparent appeal to state chauvinism.

“In many ways, we are a laboratory for the rest of this country in this area,” Sanders crowed. “With Sandia’s help, I think we are going to do that job very effectively.” But in another way, it suggested that being a corporate predator wasn’t always disqualifying, especially when weighed against the mainstream acclaim and leadership role such a partnership would confer.

Despite the confident presentation, however, the launch ended abruptly after a single question was asked about the city’s aborted partnership with Lockheed Martin. Before a TV reporter could even complete his query Sanders interrupted and challenged it. Lockheed is not “a parent company” of Sandia, he objected.

Then, as often the case when fielding unwelcome questions, he declined to say more – about Lockheed Martin or the climate change agreement Mayor Kiss had signed, the standards adopted by the City Council, the mayor’s veto, or Lockheed’s subsequent withdrawal from the deal. Instead, he turned the question over to Stulen, the man from Sandia, who offered what he called “some myth-busting.”

It was more like a clarification. All national laboratories are required to have “an oversight board provided by the private sector,” he said. “So, Lockheed Martin does provide oversight, but all of the work is done by Sandia National Laboratories and we’re careful to put firewalls in place between the laboratory and Lockheed Martin.”

In other words, trust us to respect the appropriate boundaries, do the right thing, and follow the rules. Moments later, the press conference was over.

NEXT: A Tale of Two Caucuses

See also: How Bernie Sanders Became a Real Politician: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/05/young-bernie-sanders-liberty-union-vermont

Between the Lines Interview: http://www.btlonline.org/2015/seg/150515cf-btl-guma.html

Progressive Eclipse Series: http://gregguma.blogspot.com/2015/03/online-series-explores-prog-problems.html

Greg Guma, a Vermont writer and activist, is the author of The People’s Republic: Vermont and the Sanders Revolution. He ran for mayor of Burlington in 2015. This article is a chapter from Progressive Eclipse, developed for the Campaign for Preservation & Change.

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To Beat ISIS, Kick Out the U.S.-led Coalition

May 28th, 2015 by Sharmine Narwani

Image: A car is engulfed by flames during clashes in the city of Ramadi (Reuters / Stringer)

It’s been a bad time for foes of ISIS. Islamic State scored a neat hat-trick by invading strategic Ramadi in Iraq’s mainly Sunni Anbar province, occupying Syria’s historic gem Palmyra, and taking over Al-Tanf, the last remaining border crossing with Iraq.

The multinational, American-led ‘Coalition’ launched last August to thwart Islamic State’s (IS, formerly ISIS) march across Syria and Iraq…did nothing.

And so Baghdad and Washington are pointing fingers, each accusing the other of being asleep on the job.

US Defense Secretary Ash Carter struck a low blow on Sunday in a CNN interview:

“What apparently happened was that the Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight. They vastly outnumbered the opposing force. That says to me… that we have an issue with the will of the Iraqis to fight and defend themselves.”

Carter must have forgotten that Iraqis staved off an ISIS occupation of Ramadi for almost 18 months. He also forgot that it was Iraqis who defended and/or recovered Amerli, Suleiman Beg, Tuz Khurmatu, Jurf al-Sakhar, Jalula, Saadiyah, Khanaqin, Muqdadiyah, Baquba, Udhaim Dam, Tharthar Dam, Habbaniyah, Haditha, Al-Baghdadi, Mosul Dam, Mount Sinjar, Zumar, Erbil, Gwer, Makhmur, dozens of Christian villages in the Nineveh Plains, Tikrit, Samarra, Balad, Dhuluiya, Dujail, Ishaqi, Al-Alam, Al-Dour, Albu Ajil, Awja, Al-Mutassim, Mukayshifa, Ajil and Alas oilfields, Hamrin mountains, Baiji oil refinery, scores of villages in the provinces of Salaheddine, Diyala, Kirkuk, Anbar, and Babil – and the capital city, Baghdad.

The Iraqis have shot back. Key MP Hakim al-Zamili blames Ramadi’s collapse on the US’s failure to provide “good equipment, weapons and aerial support” to troops.

Deputy Prime Minister Saleh Mutlaq, himself a Sunni from Anbar Province, concluded that the Americans were coming up short in all areas. “The Coalition airstrikes are not enough to eliminate IS.” Furthermore, the US policy of recruiting Sunni tribes for the fight, he added, was “too late” – it is “important but not enough.”

If ever there was an understatement, this is it.

Washington’s long-stated objective of rallying together a vetted Sunni fighting force – or its equivalent in the form of a National Guard – has always served as a placeholder to avoid facing realities.

One thing we have learned from IS gains in small and large Sunni towns alike, is that the extremist group prides itself on sleeper cells and alliances inside of these areas. Sunni tribes and families, both, are divided on their support of IS. And the militants ensure that everyone else falls in line through a brutal campaign of inflicting fear and pain indiscriminately. So the likelihood of a significant, anti-IS, well-trained and equipped Sunni fighting force emerging anytime soon is just about nil.

So too is the idea of a US-led Coalition air force that can cripple the Islamic State. Washington has run fewer sorties over Syria and Iraq in the nine months since inception of its air campaign, than Israel ran in its entire three-week Gaza blitz in 2008-09.

Where were the American bombers when Ramadi and Palmyra were being taken? And why does the US Air Force only seem to engage in earnest when their Kurdish allies are being threatened – as in Kobani (Ain al-Arab), Syria, and Erbil in Iraq?

Reuters

US calculations for Syria & Iraq

If actions speak louder than words, then Washington’s moves in the Mideast have been deafening.

Forget talk of a ‘unified Iraq’ with a ‘strong central government’. And definitely forget loudly-proclaimed objectives of ‘training moderate forces’ to ‘fight off IS’ across the Jordanian and Turkish borders in Syria. That’s just talk.

An objective look at US interests in the region paint an entirely different picture. The Americans seek to maintain absolute hegemony in the Mideast, even as they exit costly military occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. Their primary interests are 1) access to low cost oil and gas, 2) propping up Israel, and more recently, 3) undermining Russian (and Chinese) influence in the region.

Clinging on to hegemony would be a whole lot easier without the presence of a powerful, independent Islamic Republic of Iran, which continues to throw a wrench in many of Washington’s regional projects.

So hegemony is somewhat dependent on weakening Iran – and its supportive alliances.

With the removal of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, the US inadvertently extended Iran’s arc of influence in a direct geographic line to Palestine, leaving the Israeli colonial project vulnerable. Former President George W. Bush immediately took on the task of destroying this Resistance Axis by attempting to neuter Iranian allies Hezbollah, Syria and Hamas – and failed.

The Arab Spring presented a fresh opportunity to regroup: the US and its Turkish and Persian Gulf allies swung into action to create conditions for regime-change in Syria. The goal? To break this geographic line from Iran – through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon – to Palestine.

When regime-change failed, the goalpost moved to the next best plan: dividing Syria into several competing chunks, which would weaken the central state and create a pro-US ‘buffer’ along the border with Israel.

Weakening the central government in Iraq by dividing the state along Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite lines has also been a priority for the Americans.

You only have to look at recent US actions in Iraq to see this unspoken plan in action. Washington’s most intensive airstrikes to date were when Kurdish Erbil and its environs came under threat by ISIS. Congress has breached all international norms by ushering through legislation to directly arm Sunni and Kurdish militias and bypass the central government in Baghdad. And despite endless promises and commitments, the Americans have failed at every hurdle to train and equip the Iraqi Army and security forces to do anything useful.

A weak, divided Iraq can never become a regional powerhouse allied with Iran and the Resistance Axis. Likewise a weak, divided Syria. But without US control over these central governments, the only way to achieve this is 1) through the creation of sectarian and ethnic strife that could carve out pro-US buffers inside the ‘Resistance states’ and/or 2) through the creation of a hostile ‘Sunni buffer’ to break this line from Iran to Palestine.

A member of the Iraqi security forces stands guard during a patrol in the city of Ramadi (Reuters / Stringer)

Today, America’s ‘Sunni buffer’ is the Islamic State

General Walid Sukariyya, a Sunni, pro-resistance member of Lebanon’s parliament, agrees. “ISIS will be better for the US and Israel than having a strong Iran, Iraq and Syria…If they succeed at this, the Sunni state in Iraq will split the resistance from Palestine.”

While Washington has long sought to create a buffer in Iraq on the Syrian border, it has literally spent years trying – and failing – to find, then mold, representative Sunni Iraqi leaders who will comfortably toe a pro-American line.

An example of this is the Anbar delegation US General John Allen handpicked last December for a DC tour, which excluded representatives of the two most prominent Sunni tribes fighting IS in Iraq – the Albu Alwan and Albu Nimr. A spokesman for the tribes, speaking to Al-Jarida newspaper, objected at the time: “We are fighting ISIL and getting slaughtered, while suffering from a shortage of weapons. In the meantime, others are going to Washington to get funds and will later be assigned as our leaders.”

But why ignore Sunni groups who are unreservedly opposed to IS? Aren’t they America’s natural constituents inside Iraq?

The Takfiri extremist groups serve a purpose for Washington. IS has had the ability – where competing Sunni factions, with their ever-growing lists of demands from Baghdad, have not – to transform the US’ ‘buffer’ project into a physical reality. And Washington has not needed to expend blood, treasure or manpower to get the job done.

Last week, the government watchdog group Judicial Watch published a secret (now declassified) 2012 US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) document that sheds light on American calculations in Syria.

Written just 16 months into the 50-month-long Syrian conflict, the highly-redacted DIA document discloses the following key revelations:

“The Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood and AQI (Al-Qaeda in Iraq) are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.”

“The West, Gulf countries and Turkey support the opposition.”

The Syrian government has focused its priorities on securing pro-government areas and major transportation routes, which means “the regime decreased its concentration in areas adjacent to the Iraqi borders (al Hasaka and Der Zor).”

“Opposition forces are trying to control the eastern areas (Hasaka and Der Zor) adjacent to the western Iraqi borders (Mosul and Anbar)…Western countries, the Gulf and Turkey are supporting these efforts.”

“The deterioration of the situation…creates the ideal atmosphere for AQI to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi…”

“If the situation unravels there is the opportunity of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist Principality in eastern Syria, and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).”

The DIA brief makes clear that the escalation of conflict in Syria will create further sectarianism and radicalization, which will increase the likelihood of an ‘Islamic State’ on the Syrian-Iraqi border, one that would likely be manned by the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI).

So what did Washington do when it received this information? It lied.

Less than one month after the DIA report was published, US Secretary of State John Kerry told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this about the Syrian opposition:

“I just don’t agree that a majority are Al-Qaeda and the bad guys. That’s not true. There are about 70,000 to 100,000 oppositionists … Maybe 15 percent to 25 percent might be in one group or another who are what we would deem to be bad guys…There is a real moderate opposition that exists.”

Using the fabricated storyline of ‘moderate rebels’ who need assistance to fight a ‘criminal Syrian regime’, the US government kept the Syrian conflict buzzing, knowing full well the outcome would mean the establishment of a Sunni extremist entity spanning the Syrian-Iraqi border…which could cripple, what the Americans call, “the strategic depth of the Shia expansion.”

As US Council on Foreign Relations member and terrorism analyst Max Abrahms conceded on Twitter: “The August 5, 2012 DIA report confirms much of what Assad has been saying all along about his opponents both inside & outside Syria.”

 

Fakhreddin’s Castle (top), is pictured in the historical city of Palmyra, Syria (Reuters / Nour Fourat)

How to fight this American “Frankenstein”

Since last year, numerous Iraqi officials have complained about the US airdropping weapons to IS – whether deliberately or inadvertently remains disputed. Military sources, on the other hand, have made clear that the US-led Coalition ignores many of the Iraqi requests for air cover during ground operations.

If the US isn’t willing to play ball in Iraq’s existential fight against IS, then why bother with the Americans at all?

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is viewed as a ‘weak’ head of state – a relatively pro-American official who will work diligently to keep a balance between US interests and those of Iraq’s powerful neighbor, Iran.

But after the disastrous fall of Ramadi, and more bad news from inside Syria, Abadi has little choice but to mitigate these losses, and rapidly. The prime minister has now ordered the engagement of thousands of Hashd al-Shaabi (Shiite paramilitary groups, commonly known as the Popular Mobilization Forces) troops in the Anbar to wrest back control of Ramadi. And this – unusually – comes with the blessings of Anbar’s Sunni tribes who voted overwhelmingly to appeal to the Hashd for military assistance.

Joining the Hashd are a few thousand Sunni fighters, making this a politically palatable response. If the Ramadi operation goes well, this joint Sunni-Shiite effort (which also proved successful in Tikrit) could provide Iraq with a model to emulate far and wide.

The recent losses in Syria and Iraq have galvanized IS’ opponents from Lebanon to Iran to Russia, with commitments pouring in for weapons, manpower and funds. If Ramadi is recovered, this grouping is unlikely to halt its march, and will make a push to the Syrian border through IS-heavy territory. There is good reason for this: the militants who took Ramadi came across the Syrian border – in full sight of US reconnaissance capabilities.

A senior resistance state official told me earlier this year: “We will not allow the establishment of a big (extremist) demographic and geographic area between Syria and Iraq. We will work to push Syrian ISIS inside Syria and Iraqi ISIS inside Iraq.”

Right now, the key to pushing back Takfiri gains inside Syria’s eastern and northwestern theaters lies in the strengthening of the Iraqi military landscape. And an absolute priority will be in clearing the IS ‘buffer’ between the two states.

Eighteen months ago, in an analysis about how to fight jihadist militants from the Levant to the Persian Gulf, I wrote that the solution for this battle will be found only within the region, specifically from within those states whose security is most compromised or under threat: Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran.

I argued that these four states would be forced to increase their military cooperation as the battles intensified, and that they would provide the only ‘boots on the ground’ in this fight.

And they will. But air cover is a necessary component of successful offensive operations, even in situations of unconventional warfare. If the US and its flimsy Coalition are unable or unwilling to provide the required reconnaissance assistance and the desired aerial coverage, as guided by a central Iraqi military command, then Iraq should look elsewhere for help.

Iran and Russia come to mind – and we may yet get there.

Iraq and Syria need to merge their military strategies more effectively – again, an area where the Iranians and Russians can provide valuable expertise. Both states have hit a dangerous wall in the past few weeks, and the motivation for immediate and decisive action is high today.

Lebanese resistance group Hezbollah is coming into play increasingly as well – its Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah has recently promised that Hezbollah will no longer limit itself geographically, and will go where necessary to thwart this Takfiri enemy. The non-state actors that make up the jihadist and Takfiri core cannot be beaten by conventional armies, which is why local militias accustomed to asymmetric warfare are best suited for these battles.

Criticizing the US’s utterly nonexistent response to the Ramadi debacle yesterday, Iran’s elite Quds Force Commander Qassem Suleimani points out: “Today, there is nobody in confrontation with [IS] except the Islamic Republic of Iran, as well as nations who are next to Iran or supported by Iran.” The Iranians have become central figures in the fight against terror, and are right next door to it – as opposed to Washington, over 6,000 miles away.

If the US has any real commitment to the War on Terror, it should focus on non-combat priorities that are also essential to undermine extremism: 1) securing the Turkish and Jordanian borders to prevent any further infiltration of jihadists into Syria and Iraq, 2) sanctioning countries and individuals who fund and weaponize the Takfiris, most of whom are staunch US allies, now ironically part of the ‘Coalition’ to fight IS, and 3) sharing critical intelligence about jihadist movements with those countries engaged in the battle.

It is time to cut these losses and bring some heavyweights into this battle against extremism. If the US-directed Coalition will not deliver airstrikes under the explicit command of sovereign states engaged at great risk in this fight, it may be time to clear Iraqi and Syrian airspace of coalition jets, and fill those skies with committed partners instead.

Sharmine Narwani is a commentator and analyst of Middle East geopolitics. She tweets @snarwani

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Inside the Latest Attacks on Gaza

May 28th, 2015 by Justin King

Image: Israeli F-16Ls taxis toward the end of the runway at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. The US funds them, builds their aircraft, and trains their pilots. Source: DOD

After weeks of provocation, one of the Palestinian resistance groups launched a solitary rocket into Israeli territory. The attack injured no one. Israel responded by launching a series of attacks from American-made F-16 fighters on military and civilian targets in Gaza. The Israeli Defense Force has stated that it will hold Hamas responsible for the attacks, even though their intelligence, Israeli news, and our reports say that the Palestinian Islamic Jihad was behind the attack. The collective punishment is a clear violation of international law.

Yesterday began with the news that yet another Palestinian child had been struck by an Israeli settler’s car during a hit and run incident. It was the third such “accident” in less than a month. That was followed by news that a Palestinian in the West Bank was beaten and shot by a group of men suspected of being Israel settlers. Tensions are already elevated because of the orders to construct new Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory and the continuing news of a hunger striker who is now in his 24th day of a diet of only salt and water. Then the news came out that the United States will be increasing its subsidy of the Israel military by $300 million, which will further arm the military that has only used its weapons against Palestinians in recent memory.

All reports indicated and sources on the ground still believe that the Palestinian Islamic Jihad launched a single rocket into Israeli territory. The rocket produced zero injuries. Shortly after being questioned about the collective and punitive nature of their response, Israel began to float the story that it was an experimental Hamas rocket that landed near the city of Ashdod. Israel is likely sensitive to accusations about violating international law after a number of soldiers came clean about their war crimes during last summer’s war.

Israel responded to the attack by launching a series of assaults on the people of Gaza. Western readers should remember that the Palestinians in Gaza are unable to evacuate because Israel has walled in the entire region to create the largest open-air prison in the world. While the Israeli media is stating that only four military targets were attacked, sources on the ground state that well over 4 attacks occurred.

Farms East of Rafah, close to Gaza’s previously destroyed international airport, were hit by three missiles. Four missiles were launched at a legitimate military target near Rafah that was said to house resistance fighters, however civilian homes and buildings were damaged during that attack. Two more missiles struck south of Khan Younis and caused property damage but no casualties. The target of that attack is unknown. An unidentified number of missiles struck homes near the an-Nada Residential Towers, northwest of Gaza City. The Israelis launched a joint ground and air attack on a legitimate military target west of Rafah. That target was the home of the al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. West of Khan Younis, two more locations run by al-Quds Brigades were also attacked. Then a fourth al-Quds location in northern Gaza was targeted.

Not a single Hamas facility was targeted, though in an attempt to cover up the punitive nature of the attacks, the Israelis are now blaming the attack on the best-known group. This is a clear example of media manipulation by the IDF. Not just were there many more strikes than the four being admitted to, the media is passively complicit in blaming the attacks on the wrong group.

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Mass surveillance under the Patriot Act is so awful that even its author says that the NSA has gone far beyond what the Act intended (and that the intelligence chiefs who said Americans aren’t being spied on should be prosecuted for perjury).

Specifically, the government is using a “secret interpretation” of the Patriot Act which allows the government to commit mass surveillance on every American.

So it’s a good thing that the Patriot Act may expire, but don’t get too excited …

Wikileaks’ Julian Assange said today:

Our sources say that the NSA is not too concerned, that it has secret interpretations of other authorities that give it much the same power that it would have had under the secret interpretation of 215 and other areas of the USA PATRIOT Act.

ZDNet agrees … and notes that Congress doesn’t even know about many of the government’s spying programs. And see this.

Indeed, the government now uses secret evidence, secret witnesses, secret interpretations, and even secret laws. See this and this.

High-level NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake told us:

It’s not rule of law. This secret law, secret rule, executive authoritarianism has saddled up again.

EFF notes:

Under international human rights law, secret “law” doesn’t even qualify as “law” at all.

***

This includes not just the law itself, but the judicial and executive interpretations of written laws because both of those are necessary to ensure that people have clear notice of what will trigger surveillance.

This is a basic and old legal requirement: it can be found in all of the founding human rights documents. It allows people the fundamental fairness of understanding when they can expect privacy from the government and when they cannot. It avoids the Kafkaesque situations in which people … cannot figure out what they did that resulted in government scrutiny, much less clear their names. And it ensures that government officials have actual limits to their discretion and that when those limits are crossed, redress is possible.

***

To bring the U.S. in line with international law, it must stop the process of developing secret law and ensure that all Americans, and indeed all people who may be subject to its surveillance have clear notice of when surveillance might occur.

Remember, the Nazis claimed – just like the NSA – that the truth was too complicated and dangerous to disclose to the public. That was B.S. then … and it’s B.S. today.

Top NSA whistleblower Bill Binney told us that nothing will change unless we fire all of the corrupt officials within the NSA and other government agencies.

Constitutional and civil rights attorney John Whitehead agrees:

It doesn’t matter who occupies the White House: the secret government with its secret agencies, secret budgets and secret programs won’t change. It will simply continue to operate in secret until some whistleblower comes along to momentarily pull back the curtain and we dutifully—and fleetingly—play the part of the outraged public, demanding accountability and rattling our cages, all the while bringing about little real reform.

Thus, the lesson of the NSA and its vast network of domestic spy partners is simply this: once you allow the government to start breaking the law, no matter how seemingly justifiable the reason, you relinquish the contract between you and the government which establishes that the government works for and obeys you, the citizen—the employer—the master.

Once the government starts operating outside the law, answerable to no one but itself, there’s no way to rein it back in, short of … doing away with the entire structure, because the corruption and lawlessness have become that pervasive.

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Everyone, from political pundits in Washington to the Pope in Rome, including most journalists in the mass media and in the alternative press, have focused on the US moves toward ending the economic blockade of Cuba and gradually opening diplomatic relations.  Talk is rife of a ‘major shift’ in US policy toward Latin America with the emphasis on diplomacyand reconciliation.  Even most progressive writers and journals have ceased writing about US imperialism.

However, there is mounting evidence that Washington’s negotiations with Cuba are merely one part of a two-track policy.  There is clearly a major US build-up in Latin America, with increasing reliance on ‘military platforms’, designed to launch direct military interventions in strategic countries.  

Moreover, US policymakers are actively involved in promoting ‘client’ opposition parties, movements and personalities to destabilize independent governments and are intent on re-imposing US domination.

In this essay we will start our discussion with the origins and unfolding of this ‘two track’ policy, its current manifestations, and projections into the future.  We will conclude by evaluating the possibilities of re-establishing US imperial domination in the region.

Origins of the Two Track Policy

Washington’s pursuit of a ‘two-track policy’, based on combining ‘reformist policies’ toward some political formations, while working to overthrow other regimes and movements by force and military intervention, was practiced by the early Kennedy Administration following the Cuban revolution.  Kennedy announced a vast new economic program of aid, loans and investments – dubbed the ‘Alliance for Progress’ – to promote development and social reform in Latin American countries willing to align with the US.  At the same time the Kennedy regime escalated US military aid and joint exercises in the region. Kennedy sponsored a large contingent of Special Forces – ‘Green Berets’ – to engage in counter-insurgency warfare.  The ‘Alliance for Progress’ was designed to counter the mass appeal of the social-revolutionary changes underway in Cuba with its own program of ‘social reform’.  While Kennedy promoted watered-down reforms in Latin America, he launched the ‘secret’ CIA (‘Bay of Pigs’) invasion of Cuba in 1961and naval blockade in 1962 (the so-called ‘missile crises’).  The two-track policy ended up sacrificing social reforms and strengthening military repression.  By the mid-1970’s the ‘two-tracks’ became one – force.  The US invaded the Dominican Republic in 1965. It backed a series of military coups throughout the region, effectively isolating Cuba.  As a result, Latin America’s labor force experienced nearly a quarter century of declining living standards.

By the 1980’s US client-dictators had lost their usefulness and Washington once again took up a dual strategy: On one track, the White House wholeheartedly backed their military-client rulers’ neo-liberal agenda and sponsored them as junior partners in Washington’s regional hegemony.  On the other track, they promoted a shift to highly controlled electoral politics, which they described as a ‘democratic transition’, in order to ‘decompress’ mass social pressures against its military clients.  Washington secured the introduction of elections and promoted client politicians willing to continue the neo-liberal socio-economic framework established by the military regimes.

By the turn of the new century, the cumulative grievances of thirty years of repressive rule, regressive neo-liberal socio-economic policies and the denationalization and privatization of the national patrimony had caused an explosion of mass social discontent.  This led to the overthrow and electoral defeat of Washington’s neo-liberal client regimes.

Throughout most of Latin America, mass movements were demanding a break with US-centered ‘integration’ programs.  Overt anti-imperialism grew and intensified.  The period saw the emergence of numerous center-left governments in Venezuela, Argentina, Ecuador, Bolivia, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Honduras and Nicaragua.  Beyond the regime changes , world economic forces had altered: growing Asian markets, their demand for Latin American raw materials and the global rise of commodity prices helped to stimulate the development of Latin American-centered regional organizations – outside of Washington’s control.

Washington was still embedded in  its 25 year ‘single-track’ policy of backing civil-military authoritarian and imposing neo-liberal policies and was unable to respond and present a reform alternative to the anti-imperialist, center-left challenge to its dominance.  Instead, Washington worked to reverse the new party- power configuration.  Its overseas agencies, the Agency for International Development (AID), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and embassies worked to destabilize the new governments in Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Paraguay and Honduras.  The US ‘single-track’ of intervention and destabilization failed throughout the first decade of the new century (with the exception of Honduras and Paraguay.

In the end Washington remained politically isolated.  Its integration schemes were rejected.  Its market shares in Latin America declined. Washington not only lost its automatic majority in the Organization of American States (OAS), but it became a distinct minority.

Washington’s ‘single track’ policy of relying on the ‘stick’ and holding back on the ‘carrot’ was based on several considerations:  The Bush and Obama regimes were deeply influenced by the US’s twenty-five year domination of the region (1975-2000) and the notion that the uprisings and political changes in Latin America in the subsequent decade were ephemeral, vulnerable and easily reversed.  Moreover, Washington, accustomed to over a century of economic domination of markets, resources and labor, took for granted that its hegemony was unalterable.  The White House failed to recognize the power of China’s growing share of the Latin American market.  The State Department ignored the capacity of Latin American governments to integrate their markets and exclude the US.

US State Department officials never moved beyond the discredited neo-liberal doctrine that they had successfully promoted in the 1990’s.  The White House failed to adopt a ‘reformist’ turn to counter the appeal of radical reformers like Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan President.  This was most evident in the Caribbean and the Andean countries where President Chavez launched his two ‘alliances for progress’:  ‘Petro-Caribe’ (Venezuela’s program of supplying cheap, heavily subsidized, fuel to poor Central American and Caribbean countries and heating oil to poor neighborhoods in the US) and ‘ALBA’ (Chavez’ political-economic union of Andean states, plus Cuba and Nicaragua, designed to promote regional political solidarity and economic ties.)  Both programs were heavily financed by Caracas.  Washington failed to come up with a successful alternative plan.

Unable to win diplomatically or in the ‘battle of  ideas’, Washington resorted to the ‘big stick’ and sought to disrupt Venezuela’s regional economic program rather than compete with Chavez’ generous and beneficial aid packages.  The US’ ‘spoiler tactics’ backfired:  In 2009, the Obama regime backed a military coup in Honduras, ousting the elected liberal reformist President Zelaya and installed a bloody tyrant, a throwback to the 1970s when the US backed Chilean coup brought General Pinochet to power.  Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, in an act of pure political buffoonery, refused to call Zelaya’s violent ouster a coup and moved swiftly to recognize the dictatorship. No other government backed the US in its Honduras policy. There was universal condemnation of the coup, highlighting Washington’s isolation.

Repeatedly, Washington tried to use its ‘hegemonic card’ but it was roundly outvoted at regional meetings.  At the Summit of the Americas in 2010, Latin American countries overrode US objections and voted to invite Cuba to its next meeting, defying a 50-year old US veto.  The US was left alone in its opposition.

The position of Washington was further weakened by the decade-long commodity boom (spurred by China’s voracious demand for agro-mineral products).  The ‘mega-cycle’ undermined US Treasury and State Department’s anticipation of a price collapse.  In previous cycles, commodity ‘busts’ had forced center-left governments to run to the US controlled International Monetary Fund (IMF) for highly conditioned balance of payment loans, which the White House used to impose its neo-liberal policies and political dominance.  The ‘mega-cycle’ generated rising revenues and incomes.  This gave the center-left governments enormous leverage to avoid the ‘debt traps’ and to marginalize the IMF.  This virtually eliminated US-imposed conditionality and allowed Latin governments to pursue populist-nationalist policies.  These policies decreased poverty and unemployment.  Washington played the ‘crisis card’ and lost.  Nevertheless Washington continued working with extreme rightwing opposition groups to destabilize the progressive governments, in the hope that ‘come the crash’, Washington’s proxies would ‘waltz right in’ and take over.

The Re-Introduction of the ‘Two Track’ Policy

After a decade and a half of hard knocks, repeated failures of its ‘big stick’ policies, rejection of US-centered integration schemes and multiple resounding defeats of its client-politicians at the ballot box, Washington finally began to ‘rethink’ its ‘one track’ policy and tentatively explore a limited ‘two track’ approach.

The ‘two-tracks’, however, encompass polarities clearly marked by the recent past.  While the Obama regime opened negotiations and moved toward establishing relations with Cuba, it escalated the military threats toward Venezuela by absurdly labeling Caracas as a ‘national security threat to the US.’

Washington had woken up to the fact that its bellicose policy toward Cuba had been universally rejected and had left the US isolated from Latin America.  The Obama regime decided to claim some ‘reformist credentials’ by showcasing its opening to Cuba.  The ‘opening to Cuba’ is really part of a wider policy of a more active political intervention in Latin America.  Washington will take full advantage of the increased vulnerability of the center-left governments as the commodity mega-cycle comes to an end and prices collapse.  Washington applauds the fiscal austerity program pursued by Dilma Rousseff’s regime in Brazil.  It wholeheartedly backs newly elected Tabaré Vázquez’s “Broad Front” regime in Uruguay with its free market policies and structural adjustment.  It publicly supports Chilean President Bachelet’s recent appointment of center-right, Christian Democrats to Cabinet posts to accommodate big business.

These changes within Latin America provide an ‘opening’ for Washington to pursue a ‘dual track’ policy:  On the one hand Washington is increasing political and economic pressure and intensifying its propaganda campaign against ‘state interventionist’ policies and regimes in the immediate period.  On the other hand, the Pentagon is intensifying and escalating  its presence in Central America and its immediate vicinity.  The goal is ultimately to regain leverage over the military command in the rest of the South American continent.

The Miami Herald (5/10/15) reported that the Obama Administration had sent 280 US marines to Central America without any specific mission or pretext.  Coming so soon after the Summit of the Americas in Panama (April 10 -11, 2015), this action has great symbolic importance.  While the presence of Cuba at the Summit may have been hailed as a diplomatic victory for  reconciliation within the Americas, the dispatch of hundreds of US marines to Central America suggests another scenario in the making.

Ironically, at the Summit meeting, the Secretary General of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), former Colombian president (1994-98) Ernesto Samper, called for the US to remove all its military bases from Latin America, including Guantanamo:  “A good point in the new agenda of relations in Latin America would be the elimination of the US military bases”.

The point of the US ‘opening’ to Cuba is precisely to signal its greater involvement in Latin America, one that includes a return to more robust US military intervention.  The strategic intent is to restore neo-liberal client regimes, by ballots or bullets.

Conclusion

Washington’s current adoption of a two-track policy is a ‘cheap version’ of the John F. Kennedy policy of combining the ‘Alliance for Progress’ with the ‘Green Berets’.  However, Obama offers little in the way of financial support for modernization and reform to complement his drive to restore neo-liberal dominance.

After a decade and a half of political retreat, diplomatic isolation and relative loss of military leverage, the Obama regime has taken over six years to recognize the depth of its isolation.  When Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Roberta Jacobson, claimed she was ‘surprised and disappointed’ when every Latin American country opposed Obama’s claim that Venezuela represented a ‘national security threat to the United States’, she exposed just how ignorant and out-of-touch the State Department has become with regard to Washington’s capacity to influence Latin America in support of its imperial agenda of intervention.

With the decline and retreat of the center-left, the Obama regime has been eager to exploit the two-track strategy.  As long as the FARC-President Santos peace talks in Colombia advance, Washington is likely to recalibrate its military presence in Colombia to emphasize its destabilization campaign against Venezuela.  The State Department will increase diplomatic overtures to Bolivia.  The National Endowment for Democracy will intensify its intervention in this year’s Argentine elections.

Varied and changing circumstances dictate flexible tactics.  Hovering over Washington’s tactical shifts is an ominous strategic outlook directed toward increasing military leverage.  As the peace negotiations between the Colombian government and FARC guerrillas advance toward an accord, the pretext for maintaining seven US military bases and several thousand US military and Special Forces troops diminishes.  However, Colombian President Santos has given no indication that a ‘peace agreement’ would be conditioned on the withdrawal of US troops or closing of its bases.  In other words, the US Southern Command would retain a vital military platform and infrastructure capable of launching attacks against Venezuela, Ecuador, Central America and the Caribbean. With military bases throughout the region, in Colombia, Cuba (Guantanamo), Honduras (Soto Cano in Palmerola), Curacao, Aruba and Peru, Washington can quickly mobilize interventionary forces.  Military ties with the armed forces of Uruguay, Paraguay, and Chile ensure continued joint exercises and close co-ordination of so-called ‘security’ policies in the ‘Southern Cone’ of Latin America.  This strategy is specifically designed to prepare for internal repression against popular movements, whenever and wherever class struggle intensifies in Latin America.  The two-track policy, in force today, plays out through political-diplomatic and military strategies.

In the immediate period throughout most of the region, Washington pursues a policy of political, diplomatic and economic intervention and pressure.  The White House is counting on the ‘rightwing swing’ of former center-left governments to facilitate the return to power of unabashedly neo-liberal client-regimes in future elections. This is especially true with regard to Brazil and Argentina.

The ‘political-diplomatic track’ is evident in Washington’s moves to re-establish relations with Bolivia and to strengthen allies elsewhere in order to leverage favorable policies in Ecuador, Nicaragua and Cuba.  Washington proposes to offer diplomatic and trade agreements in exchange for a ‘toning down’ of anti-imperialist criticism and weakening the ‘Chavez-era’ programs of regional integration.

The ‘two-track approach’, as applied to Venezuela, has a more overt military component than elsewhere.  Washington will continue to subsidize violent paramilitary border crossings from Colombia.  It will continue to encourage domestic terrorist sabotage of the power grid and food distribution system.  The strategic goal is to erode the electoral base of the Maduro government, in preparation for the legislative elections in the fall of 2015.  When it comes to Venezuela, Washington is pursuing a ‘four step’ strategy:

(1)   Indirect violent intervention to erode the electoral support of the government

(2)   Large-scale financing of the electoral campaign of the legislative opposition to secure a majority in Congress

(3)   A massive media campaign in favor of a Congressional vote for a referendum impeaching the President

(4)   A large-scale financial, political and media campaign to secure a majority vote for impeachment by referendum.

In the likelihood of a close vote, the Pentagon would prepare a rapid military intervention with its domestic collaborators – seeking a ‘Honduras-style’ overthrow of Maduro.

The strategic and tactical weakness of the two-track policy is the absence of any sustained and comprehensive economic aid, trade and investment program that would attract and hold middle class voters.  Washington is counting more on the negative effects of the crisis to restore its neo-liberal clients.  The problem with this approach is that the pro-US forces can only promise a return to orthodox austerity programs, reversing social and public welfare programs , while making large-scale economic concessions to major foreign investors and bankers.  The implementation of such regressive programs are going to ignite and intensify class, community-based and ethnic conflicts.

The ‘electoral transition’ strategy of the US is a temporary expedient, in light of the highly unpopular economic policies, which it would surely implement.  The complete absence of any substantial US socio-economic aid to cushion the adverse effects on working families means that the US client-electoral victories will not last long.  That is why and where the US strategic military build-up comes into play:  The success of track-one, the pursuit of political-diplomatic tactics, will inevitably polarize Latin American society and heighten prospects for class struggle.  Washington hopes that it will have its political-military client-allies ready to respond with violent repression.  Direct intervention and heightened domestic repression will come into play to secure US dominance.

The ‘two-track strategy’ will, once again, evolve into a ‘one-track strategy’ designed to return Latin America as a satellite region, ripe for pillage by extractive multi-nationals and financial speculators.

As we have seen over the past decade and a half, ‘one-track policies’ lead to social upheavals.  And the next time around the results may go far beyond progressive center-left regimes toward truly social-revolutionary governments!

Epilogue

US empire-builders have clearly demonstrated throughout the world their inability to intervene and produce stable, prosperous and productive client states (Iraq and Libya are prime examples). There is no reason to believe, even if the US ‘two-track policy’ leads to temporary electoral victories, that Washington’s efforts to restore dominance will succeed in Latin America, least of all because its strategy lacks any mechanism for economic aid and social reforms that could maintain a pro-US elite in power.  For example, how could the US possibly offset China’s $50 billion aid package to Brazil – except through violence and repression.

It is important to analyze how the rise of China, Russia, strong  regional markets and new centers of finance have severely weakened the efforts by client regimes to realign with the US.  Military coups and free markets are no longer guaranteed formulas for success in Latin America: Their past failures are too recent to forget.

Finally the ‘financialization’ of the US economy, what even the International Monetary Fund (IMF) describes as the negative impact of ‘too much finance’ (Financial Times 5/13/15, p 4), means that the US cannot allocate capital resources to develop productive activity in Latin America.  The imperial state can only serve as a violent debt collector for its banks in the context of large-scale unemployment.  Financial and extractive imperialism is a politico-economic cocktail for detonating social revolution on a continent-wide basis – far beyond the capacity of the US marines to prevent or suppress.

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U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont might be the most progressive of all U.S. Senators — only two Senators are even contenders for that spot, Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Elizabeth Warren of Massachussetts, and neither of them has campaigned at all for the Presidency. 

Only Sanders even tested the waters. On 17 September 2014, Paul Heintz of Vermont’s weekly newspaper Seven Days, headlined, “‘Run, Bernie, Run’: In Iowa, Sanders Tests the Presidential Waters,” and opened: “The crowd went wild Saturday afternoon [13 Sep.] as Bernie Sanders ascended a makeshift plywood stage at the Sauk County Fairgrounds in Baraboo, Wisconsin. … ‘Run, Bernie, run! Run, Bernie, run!’” Heintz noted that, later on the same day, in Iowa, Sanders addressed students at Dubuque’s Clarke University. Then, the next day, on Sunday morning, he was at Waterloo Iowa’s Center for the Arts.

Already, he had tested the campaign waters in Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, New Hampshire, and other states, and received enthusiastic receptions everywhere, even in the deep South where Democrats rarely win. Heintz spoke to David Yepsen, a veteran political reporter in Iowa, who said, “I think he’ll run.” That was as of 17 September 2014.

Then, on 30 April 2015, in a terrific MSNBC interview with Ed Schultz, Sanders said that he would run, and he explained why; an on May 26th, he officially kicked off his campaign, with a wildly enthusiastic event in Burlington Vermont, where his political career had started in 1981 as Mayor.

All this while, Sanders was one of the leaders in the Senate in opposing Obama’s ‘trade’ deals, and, earlier, pressing Obama to support more strongly a public option in the healthcare exchanges, and on many other matters. He has hardly been an inactive Senator, such as Hillary Clinton was. Instead, he was always one of the leaders of the Senate’s progressives.

How much coverage were America’s supposedly ‘progressive’ magazines providing of this? Nothing before he started making noises about a possible Presidential run, and little even after that.

Here are the “Sanders” search-results as of 11 May 2015, at the magazines that claim to be ‘progressive’ — and this is everything, going back not only before 2015, but before 2014: it’s everything at every period. They ignored him up through 2013, and covered him little during 2014 and 2015, while he has been campaigning nationally.

——

The Nation Deep-Sixes Sanders’s Campaign

30.Apr.2015       http://www.thenation.com/blog/205865/6-degrees-separation-between-bernie-sanders-and-hillary-clinton

5.May.2015        http://www.thenation.com/article/206521/bernies-race

13.May.2014      http://www.thenation.com/article/179837/bernie-sanders-could-be-2016-democratic-candidate-weve-all-been-waiting

6.Mar.2014        www.thenation.com/blog/178717/bernie-sanders-i-am-prepared-run-president-united-states

——

Mother Jones Deep-Sixes Sanders’s Campaign

30.Apr.2015       http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/04/sen-bernie-sanders-running-president-greatest-hits

30.Apr.2015       http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/04/bernie-sanders-hillary-clinton-democrat-2016-press-questions

2.Apr.2015         http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/04/bernie-sanders-inequality-president-interview

6.Nov.2014        http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/11/bernie-sanders-big-money-election-spending

——

The Progressive Deep-Sixes Sanders’s Campaign

8.Oct.2104        http://www.progressive.org/news/2014/10/187877/highlights-fighting-bob-fest-senator-bernie-sanders

                            (That’s a speech he gave in Wisconsin.)

——

American Prospect Deep-Sixes Sanders’s Campaign

nothing after 2011

——

But, there is one exception (although it was only very late and very sudden):

In These Times Endorses Sanders for President

30.Apr.2015       http://inthesetimes.com/article/17893/bernie-sanders-a-candidate-worth-voting-for

6.Apr.2015         http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/17814/bernie_sanders_endorses_chuy_garcia_in_chicago_mayoral_election

26.Jan.2015       http://inthesetimes.com/article/17572/bernie_sanders_president

——

He was the only progressive who was even testing the waters for a possible 2016 Presidential bid, and these were the 5 ‘progressive’ national political magazines, and so no wonder, then, why it was that as of his official kick-off date of 26 May 2015, he was so little known to the American public that he didn’t even show up at all in the 2016 Presidential polls.

He was an unknown even though he has more political experience than either of the other two Senate progressives, and even though he has been campaigning, already, for almost a year.

These five magazines are the only five national progressive political magazines; and, so, they’re the ones that should have been devoting major attention to him, both in the Senate and on the prospective campaign trail, yet only one actually did, and even that one started on 26 Jan. 2015, months after he had started “testing the waters.”

Here is NBC Nightly News on 12 April 2015, the day that Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy.

None of the network national news shows covered the Sanders 26 May 2015 kick-off event, even though NBC News did have a van there. Here is NBC News’s Political Director Chuck Todd, saying that Sanders is just an idealistic sideshow to the 2016 race. “He may not be able to win Iowa, or even get 15% in Iowa.”

The ‘progressive’ magazines were doing nothing to help ‘their’ person to overcome the contempt that dripped from the mainstream ‘news’ media against him.

So: on which side do the ‘progressive’ magazines actually weigh?

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, and of  Feudalism, Fascism, Libertarianism and Economics.

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Where there is a natural disaster of epic proportion, Hollywood is bound to be around the corner seeking to lap it up.  Salivating stars are propelled to misery, and big black holes become sites of opportunity for incandescent hope. 

In January 2010, we saw the Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt publicity machine give over $1 million to Doctors Without Borders for the Haiti appeal.  At stages it even seemed that donors were seeking to outdo each other.  The biggest wallets were meant to front up with heart and good will, outperforming others in a seedy corporate system of donations.  There were the tweet challenges.  There were the busy telethons.  Call up, donate.  Fork out, or be damned.

Actress Alyssa Milano, goodwill ambassador to Unicef, even went so far as to throw down the gauntlet to corporate America, a fascinating mirroring of values.  “I cried and then I did the only thing I could do… I wrote a check to the US Fund for Unicef for $50,000.”  Writing in the Huffington Post (Mar 18, 2010), Milano would speak of her work for Unicef as a series of tourist disaster gigs, a travel log of misery jottings.  “I travelled to Angola in 2004, only two years after the peace treaty was signed ending a 27 year civil war.  In 2005, I went to India for the 6-month anniversary of the tsunami.” Be on the scene; catch the gloom.

The effect of such disaster anticipation is cinematic – preparatory efforts are made to ready her for the jump into a land of mayhem and natural cruelties.  Then come the usual symptoms of middleclass, or at the very least, actor’s guilt.  “Sure, I had seen pictures from both places prior to my trips.  I watched videos and tried to prepare myself.”  Of course, she reminds readers, nothing every quite readies you for the authentic.

The latest round of gory sentimentalising from the Hollywood entertainment complex has issued forth from Susan Sarandon, who has been doing the rounds in devastated, earthquake ravaged Nepal.

The message?  Tourism – and more of it. On CNN, she was featured with the expected human ornament heavy with tackiness – the news network’s anointed hero, Pushpa Basnet.[1]  Sarandon insisted that, despite whole areas being levelled, monuments could still be seen, museums visited.

As for donations themselves, Sarandon has been issuing a caveat haloed by her expertise.

“It is important that money is sent to places which need it. People are open-hearted but are not diligent enough to see if the stuff they are sending is actually needed.”

Not content with that summation, the thespian suggested that she had the local knowledge, an awareness about what exactly was going on the ground. “I have seen some groups here who are actually accomplishing things so I can help with that.”[2]

Sarandon is also a serial visitor to places of acute devastation. One of her themes is that of the “familiar” house built in the aftermath.  These are houses of some resistance, designed to resist the effects of the approaching monsoon.  “I have seen this in New Orleans and New York, that you want to help people but with their dignity intact and find their personal objects and the things they have lost.”  At a certain point, the paternalistic defender arches up to insist on protecting the dignitas of the subject.  Blessed are the poor, because they will save us.  Much like concerned adults over vulnerable children.  “So they still have a sense of place and home.  They are not constantly having things thrown at them and they participate.”

While she can hardly be blamed for some depictions of her, it is still striking that the thespian rarely leaves that allocated role in the popular imaginary.  Nothing illustrated this convergence between the violence of natural disaster, and the contrivance of Hollywood sympathy, than the Daily Mail’s description of Sarandon’s fashion on site.

First, the necessary remarks about “two powerful earthquakes which killed thousands of people and posed a serious threat to the nation’s tourism industry, which many need to survive.”  Then, a mention about the work with the non-profit outfit Live to Love, with the usual overview about her personal life – splitting up with “boyfriend of five years, 38-year-old filmmaker Jonathan Bricklin.”[3]  Proportion is everything in such commentary.

Props are needed, and nothing better presents itself for the camera than a disaster being shaped for popular consumption, with its staged faces, its desperation, its calling. Naturally, the actor shows empathy, a cruel suggestion given that acting, by its very nature, deceives one into envisaging such empathy.  This is the catharsis of cruelty.  “Empathetic: The Tammy star stopped to comfort a citizen of Ramkot Village, who lost her husband and daughter because of the earthquake.”  She was also “caring” and keen to visit those who had lost homes.  Plato’s suspicion about thespians and their calibre should never be forgotten.

The most interesting feature to the Daily Mail piece, however, lay in the realm of fashion.  Priorities had to be noted.  “Susan dressed comfortably for the trip, sporting a fitted black T-shirt and loose-fitting patterned black trousers.” When one travels to earthquake devastated areas, one’s wardrobe should be in good working order.

The fashion genie was particularly busy on this day, noting the coupling “with a coordinated white scarf, and finished off the laid-back look with a pair of black boots.”  This is the fashion of the disaster zone, the land of suffering and misery, the saint of the wardrobe.  Ultimately, it is all acting.

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

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Last week, former NSA intelligence analyst John Schindler posted a rather disturbing tweet. With a statement that one could only assume to be a reference towards Russia, Schindler wrote “Said a senior NATO (non-US) GOFO to me today: “We’ll probably be at war this summer. If we’re lucky it won’t be nuclear.” Let that sink in.”

So who is John Schindler? As a ten-year veteran of the NSA, he was in the news a bit more when Snowden was making frequent headlines. He used to be a professor at the U.S. Naval War College, and is currently a frequent contributor to Business Insider. According to his biography on Business Insider, he used to teach classes on security, strategy, intelligence, and terrorism, and he has “collaborated closely with other government agencies who would probably prefer he didn’t mention them.” It’s safe to say that Schindler probably brushes shoulders with high-ranking officials from time to time, so his tweet should be taken seriously.

It’s frightening to think that members of NATO may actually be preparing for, and expecting a war with Russia this summer, but unfortunately it’s not all that surprising. Given some of the activity we’re seeing around the world, it’s safe to assume that superpowers like the US, Russia, and China, are preparing for something big.  Infowars also reported on Schindler’s tweet, and noted some of the provocative moves that have been going on around the world lately.

Earlier this month NATO launched its biggest ever wargame exercise on Russia’s doorstep. Moscow responded by conducting “provocative” wargames in the Mediterranean Sea in coordination with the Chinese PLA, the first ever naval drill involving both superpowers.

NATO powers are also taking part in one of Europe’s largest ever fighter jet drills from today, with the United States, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Finland, Norway and Sweden all involved in the 12 day exercise.

Tensions are also building between the U.S. and China, with The Global Times, a state media outlet owned by the ruling Communist Party, today warning that “war is inevitable” if Washington doesn’t halt its demands that Beijing stop building artificial islands in the South China Sea.

“If the United States’ bottom line is that China has to halt its activities, then a U.S.-China war is inevitable in the South China Sea,” the newspaper said. “The intensity of the conflict will be higher than what people usually think of as ‘friction’.”

Last week, CNN revealed how China’s Navy has repeatedly issued warnings to U.S. surveillance planes flying over the South China Sea.

While these sorts of warnings come and go all the time, that in and of itself is kind of scary. The fact that we now live in a world where high-ranking officials just assume nuclear war is right around the corner, means we should be very concerned. Wars rarely, if ever, happen out of the blue. There are always quiet rumors of wars before the real deal comes to pass.

Contributed by Joshua Krause of The Daily Sheeple.

Joshua Krause is a reporter, writer and researcher at The Daily Sheeple. He was born and raised in the Bay Area and is a freelance writer and author. You can follow Joshua’s reports at Facebook or on his personal Twitter. Joshua’s website is Strange Danger .

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Senate Intelligence chair Richard Burr: His bill, described by AP as a “compromise,” could put AP‘s sources away for 10 years.

The Associated Press(5/23/15) reported on what reporter Ken Dilanian called efforts by Congress “to prevent an interruption in critical government surveillance programs” by extending a section of the PATRIOT Act set to expire May 31.

If you’re more worried about the government spying on you than you are about the government losing “valuable surveillance tools”—well, I guess AP is not the news service for you, then.

One such PATRIOT Act preservation effort is labeled a “compromise” by AP—Senate Intelligence Committee chair Richard Burr’s proposal to extend the NSA’s bulk collection of domestic phone records until 2017—in what AP calls a “transition.”

As Marcy Wheeler of Expose Facts (5/26/15) points out, Burr’s plan would actually not be a simple extension of the PATRIOT Act’s Section 215, but instead would be “a breathtaking expansion of surveillance authority, probably even bigger than the FISA Amendments Act passed in 2008.” Among the Burr bill’s special features, Wheeler writes:

The bill basically would create its own mini Espionage Act, just for Section 215, creating a 10-year prison term for anyone who knowingly communicates information about Section 215 collection to an “unauthorized person.”

That’s interesting, because before Dilanian wrote about Burr’s “compromise,” he put this passage into his story:

But if Section 215 expires without replacement, the government would lack the blanket authority to conduct those searches. There would be legal methods to hunt for connections in US phone records to terrorists, said current and former US officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. But those methods would not be applicable in every case.

So “current and former US officials” spoke without authorization to Dilanian about Section 215—thereby committing the very crime that this “compromise” bill would punish with a 10-year prison sentence.

Wheeler points out that the anonymous officials who talked to Dilanian, while not legally authorized to do so, probably had the unofficial sanction of their superiors:

If the earlier reports were based on a sanctioned leak, there’s little chance US intelligence officials sharing information they clearly identified as classified would be sent to prison for 10 years. But sources who might provide the kind of information that would make this debate useful would face prison terms. For journalists to deem such a bill a “compromise” would be to suggest they’re okay working exclusively with one-sided official leaks.

 

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Gentrification – the displacement of Black and brown urban residents by more affluent whites – is a function of the same forces that emptied the cities of much of their white populations, generations ago: the movement of capital. Capital wants the cities back, and clears spaces for whites. “The system is stacked in favor of moneyed interests and white people.”

There is no city in this country where black people are safe from the current method of displacement known as gentrification. Washington, DC, once had a majority black population and was known as Chocolate City. Perhaps it is now the Café au Lait city as the black population has fallen below 50%. That dynamic gathers steam in New York and other cities and continues to push people out of their homes, deprive them of needed services and erode their quality of life.

The situation in New York City is illustrative of this phenomenon. According to census data the city’s black population dropped by 5% between 2000 and 2010. Brooklyn alone lost 50,000 black residents during that time while the white population grew by 37,000 people. The impact of money is the explanation for this reversal of fortune. The same sources of capital that took money out of the cities in decades past are now changing course. These market manipulations determine where black people can and cannot live and create a cascade of negative impacts.

East New York was always one of New York’s poorest neighborhoods with a median income of only $32,000. Its majority black population and location in far eastern Brooklyn near the border of Queens had deemed it undesirable. That designation is now forgotten as big money sets its sights on new places to conquer. Now an area once thought to be too far from Manhattan is touted as being a 30 minute commute via public transportation. This formerly sneered upon and forgotten part of town is now “hot” and its residents have been identified as displaceable.

The phrase “prime real estate” can mean anything the market manipulators want it to mean. As the many headed hydra keeps sprouting heads, any place can suddenly be declared “hot” or “hip.” The inhabitants are pushed aside to make way for transplants who may come from the suburbs, another state or even from another country.

Gentrification is inherently racist, and Brooklyn shows the rest of the country how the dirty deeds are done. A recent article in New York Magazine included an interview with Ephraim, a pseudonym for a Brooklyn landlord and developer. He candidly described how black people facing foreclosure give him deeds to their homes or how renters are enticed to move out of rent regulated apartments in exchange for small sums of money.

“If there’s a black tenant in the house—in every building we have, I put in white tenants. They want to know if black people are going to be living there. So sometimes we have ten apartments and everything is white, and then all of the sudden one tenant comes in with one black roommate, and they don’t like it.”

Much has been made about this story but the outrage misses some important points. The emphasis for advocates should not just be that illegal practices should be stopped. The most important thing to remember is that black people have little stake in a system that will always find a way to disadvantage them. There can be no use for tired nostrums about black people making bad choices or not using their paltry “buying power” to better effect. The system is stacked in favor of moneyed interests and white people, no matter how well black people strive to behave in ways they are told will protect them.

The lack of assets means that even when black people own real estate they often do so precariously. Job loss or any other setback can mean financial crisis and foreclosure. That is where Ephraim comes in and gets these distressed home owners to give him their deeds.

Individual effort is no match for the rule of money. Black people who had money to buy and develop properties were prevented from doing so by redlining which prevented mortgages, bank loans and even insurance from being utilized in black neighborhoods across the country. Urban areas had large black populations because white people fled. White people left to get away from black people and capital paved the road to the suburbs. The tide is now turning because there is once again money to be made in the cities. Perhaps in the future the 1% will make different choices and make new determinations about where black people will live.

The nexus of corruption is vast. Real estate developers call the shots and politicians follow. That is how rent regulations in New York were eviscerated beginning in the 1990s. Now a vacant apartment can be decontrolled and no longer subject to regulated pricing if the rent rises above $2,500. A welfare program for developers, known as 421a, provides tax abatements meant to incentivize construction of low and moderate income housing. Instead, a developer recently received a 95% tax abatement on a $100 million condominium in Manhattan.

The demographic change generated by manipulations from the rich mean losses other than housing. Neighborhoods already considered “food deserts” are losing the few supermarkets they have if a developer buys those properties. Even defendants and plaintiffs in court cases pay a price. Juries in Brooklyn now have more white people with higher incomes which means they are more likely to decide in favor of the police or against plaintiffs in civil cases. One attorney explained it this way. “There’s an influx of money, and when everything gets gentrified, these jurors aren’t pro-plaintiff anymore.”

So black Brooklynites have fewer affordable places to live, to buy food or even to get the little bit of justice they once had. Gentrification is a destroyer and just one of the ways black people in this country are kept at the bottom. The fight against it must be fought on many fronts. The racism which gives white people a perceived right to be free of black people must be called out. The laws which give the wealthy advantages over everyone else must end. Politicians have to be called to account. If they aren’t, cities will become theme parks for the upper classes and everyone else will be pushed to the outskirts and to jail, the ultimate form of displacement.

Gentrification is just one of the ways in which capitalism manifests itself and it must be thought of in that way. If it isn’t, black people will be fooled into short sighted thinking and ineffective tactics. We can start with a new adage. As long as money wins, black people will lose.

Margaret Kimberley‘s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at http://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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This article was first published in January 2003, two months prior to the launching of the war on Iraq. It was subsequently included in my book entitled America’s “War on Terrorism”, Global Research, Montreal, 2005.

Since the publication of this article, the instruments of propaganda have gained in impetus and sophistication.  The global campaign against Muslims has continued unabated with a view to creating an atmosphere of fear and intimidation.

Suspected terrorists are arrested on trumped up charges.  These arrests of individuals of Middle Eastern origin are not motivated by security considerations. Their main function is to provide legitimacy to the “Global War on Terrorism” and the Homeland Security State.  

The ultimate objective is to justify a war of conquest. 

Terrorist attacks by Muslims against the Homeland are said to be imminent. Counter-terrorism is intended to protect the Western World. 

Much of the justification for waging this war without borders rests on the legitimacy of the US  administration’s anti-terrorist agenda.  The latter forms part of the propaganda campaign, which in turn is used to sway the US population into an unconditional acceptance of the war agenda.

Both the Bush and Obama administrations have covertly supported and financed international terrorism. They have used Al Qaeda as well as ISIS as their foot-soldiers, while also using the atrocities committed by the “Islamic terrorists” as a justification for intervening on humanitarian ground.

In Iraq, the Obama administration is supporting ISIS while at the same time waging a fake “war on terrorism” against ISIS. Without the support of media propaganda, the legitimacy of the “war on terrorism” would collapse like a deck of cards. 

The ISIS brigades are integrated by US-NATO sponsored special forces, often recruited by private mercenary companies on contract to the Pentagon. These special forces which integrate the terror brigades are in permanent liaison with their US-NATO counterparts.

Michel Chossudovsky, May 27  2015

*     *     *

One of the main objectives of war propaganda is to «fabricate an enemy» . As anti-war sentiment grows and the political legitimacy the Bush Administration falters, doubts regarding the existence of this “outside enemy” must be dispelled.

As the date of the planned invasion of Iraq approaches, the Bush Administration and its indefectible British ally have multiplied the “warnings” of future Al Qaeda terrorist attacks. The enemy has to appear genuine: thousands of news stories and editorials linking Al Qaeda to the Baghdad government are planted in the news chain. Colin Powell underscored this relationship in his presentation to the Davos World Economic Forum in January. Iraq is casually presented in official statements and in the media as “a haven for and supplier of the terror network”:

“Evidence that is still tightly held is accumulating within the administration that it is not a matter of chance that terror groups in the al Qaeda universe have made their weapons of choice the poisons, gases and chemical devices that are signature arms of the Iraqi regime.”1

In this context, propaganda purports to drown the truth, and kill the evidence on how Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda was fabricated and transformed into “Enemy Number One”.

Meanwhile, “anti-terrorist operations” directed against Muslims, including arbitrary mass arrests have been stepped up. In the US, emergency measures are contemplated in the case of war. The corporate media is busy preparing public opinion. A «national emergency» is said to be justified because «America is under attack»:

« the U.S. and Western interests in the Western world have to be prepared for retaliatory attacks from sleeper cells the second we launch an attack in Iraq.» 2

Defence of the Homeland

Emergency procedures are already in place. The Secretary of Homeland Defence -whose mandate is to «safeguard the nation from terrorist attacks»– has already been granted the authority « to take control of a national emergency», implying the establishment of de facto military rule. In turn, the Northern Command would be put in charge of military operations in the US «war on terrorism » theatre.

The Smallpox Vaccination Program

In the context of these emergency measures, preparations for compulsory smallpox vaccination are already under way in response to a presumed threat of a biological weapons attack on US soil. The vaccination program –which has been the object of intense media propaganda– would be launched with the sole purpose of creating an atmosphere of panic among the population:

«A few infected individuals with a stack of plane tickets–or bus tickets, for that matter–could spread smallpox infection across the country, touching off a plague of large proportions …. It is not inconceivable that a North Korea or an Iraq could retain smallpox in a hidden lab and pass the deadly agent on to terrorists.»3

The hidden agenda is crystal clear. How best to discredit the anti-war movement and maintain the legitimacy of the State? Create conditions, which instill fear and hatred, present the rulers as “guardians of the peace”, committed to weeding out terrorism and preserving democracy. In the words of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, echoing almost verbatim the US propaganda dispatches:

“’I believe it is inevitable that they will try in some form or other,… ‘I think we can see evidence from the recent arrests that the terrorist network is here as it is around the rest of Europe, around the rest of the world… The most frightening thing about these people is the possible coming together of fanaticism and the technology capable of delivering mass destruction.’”4

Mass Arrests

The mass arrests of individuals of Middle Eastern origin since September 11 2001 on trumped up charges is not motivated by security considerations. Their main function is to provide “credibility” to the fear and propaganda campaign. Each arrest, amply publicised by the corporate media, repeated day after day “gives a face” to this invisible enemy. It also serves to drown the fact that Al Qaeda is a creature of the CIA. “Enemy Number One” is not an enemy but an instrument.)

In other words, the Propaganda campaign performs two important functions.

First it must ensure that the enemy is considered a real threat.

Second, it must distort the truth, –i.e. it must conceal “the relationship” between this “fabricated enemy” and its creators within the military-intelligence apparatus.

In other words, the nature and history of Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda and the Islamic brigades since the Soviet-Afghan war must be suppressed because if it trickles down to the broader public, the legitimacy of the so-called “war on terrorism” collapses like a deck of cards. And in the process, the legitimacy of the main political and military actors is threatened.

The “9/11 Foreknowledge” Scandal

On 16 May 2002, the New York tabloids revealed that “President Bush had been warned of possible high jacking before the terror attacks” and had failed to act.5

The disinformation campaign was visibly stalling in the face of mounting evidence of CIA-Osama links. For the first time since 9/11, the mainstream press had hinted to the possibility of a cover-up at the highest echelons of the US State apparatus.

FBI Agent Coleen Rowley, who blew the whistle on the FBI, played a key role in unleashing the crisis. Her controversial Memo to FBI Director Robert Mueller pointed to the existence of “deliberate roadblocks” on the investigation of the September 11 attacks:

“Minutes after the 9/11 attacks the SSA [David Frasca, Director of the Radical Fundamentalist unit in the FBI] said ‘this was probably all just a coincidence’ and we were to do nothing until we got their permission, because we might screw up something else going on elsewhere in the country” 6

In response to an impending political crisis, the fear and disinformation campaign went into overdrive. The news chain was all of a sudden inundated with reports and warnings of “future terrorist attacks”. A carefully worded statement (visibly intended to instill fear) by Vice President Dick Cheney contributed to setting the stage:

“I think that the prospects of a future attack on the U.S. are almost a certainty… It could happen tomorrow, it could happen next week, it could happen next year, but they will keep trying. And we have to be prepared.”7

What Cheney is really telling us is that our “intelligence asset”, which we created, is going to strike again. Now, if this “CIA creature” were planning new terrorist attacks, you would expect that the CIA would be first to know about it. In all likelihood, the CIA also controls the so-called ‘warnings’ emanating from CIA sources on “future terrorist attacks” in the US and around the World.

Propaganda’s Consistent Pattern

Upon careful examination of news reports on actual, “possible” or “future” terrorist attacks, the propaganda campaign exhibits a consistent pattern. Similar concepts appear simultaneously in hundreds of media reports:

  • they refer to “reliable sources“, a growing body of evidence e.g. government or intelligence or FBI.
  • They invariably indicate that the terrorist groups involved have “ties to bin Laden” or Al Qaeda, or are “sympathetic to bin Laden”,
  • The reports often points to the possibility of terrorist attacks, “sooner or later” or “in the next two months“.
  • The reports often raise the issue of so-called “soft targets”, pointing to the likelihood of civilian casualties.
  • They indicate that future terrorist attacks could take place in a number of allied countries (including Britain, France, Germany) in which public opinion is strongly opposed to the US-led war on terrorism.
  • They confirm the need by the US and its allies to initiate pre-emptive” actions directed against these various terrorist organizations and/or the foreign governments which harbour the terrorists.
  • They often point to the likelihood that these terrorist groups possess WMD including biological and chemical weapons (as well as nuclear weapons). The links to Iraq and “rogue states”(discussed in Part I) is also mentioned.
  • The warnings also include warnings regarding “attacks on US soil”attacks against civilians in Western cities.
  • They point to efforts undertaken by the police authorities to apprehend the alleged terrorists.
  • The arrested individuals are in virtually all cases Muslims and/or of Middle Eastern origin.
  • The reports are also used to justify the Homeland Security legislation as well as the “ethnic profiling” and mass arrests of presumed terrorists.

This pattern of disinformation in the Western media applies the usual catch phrases and buzz words. (See press excerpts below. The relevant catch phrases are indicated in bold):

“Published reports, along with new information obtained from U.S. intelligence and military sources, point to a growing body of evidence that terrorists associated with and/or sympathetic to Osama bin Laden are planning a significant attack on U.S. soil.

Also targeted are allied countries that have joined the worldwide hunt for the radical Muslim cells hell-bent on unleashing new waves of terrorist strikes. … The U.S. government’s activation of antiterrorist forces comes as the FBI issued a warning Nov. 14 that a “spectacular” new terrorist attack may be forthcoming – sooner rather than later. …

Elsewhere, the Australian government issued an unprecedented warning to its citizens that al-Qaeda terrorists there might launch attacks within the next two months. 8

Although CIA Director George Tenet said in recent congressional testimony that “an attempt to conduct another attack on U.S. soil is certain,” a trio of former senior CIA officials doubted the chance of any “spectacular” terror attacks on U.S. soil.9

“Germans have been skittish since the terrorist attacks in the United States, fearing that their country is a ripe target for terrorism. Several of the hijackers in the Sept. 11 attacks plotted their moves in Hamburg.10

“On Dec. 18, a senior government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, briefed journalists about the ‘high probability’ of a terrorist attack happening ‘sooner or later.’… he named hotels and shopping centres as potential ‘soft targets’… The official also specifically mentioned: a possible chemical attack in the London subway, the unleashing of smallpox, the poisoning of the water supply and strikes against “postcard targets” such as Big Ben and Canary Warf.

The “sooner or later” alert followed a Home Office warning at the end of November that said Islamic radicals might use dirty bombs or poison gas to inflict huge casualties on British cities. This also made big headlines but the warning was quickly retracted in fear that it would cause public panic. 11

The message yesterday was that these terrorists, however obscure, are trying – and, sooner or later, may break through London’s defences. It is a city where tens of thousands of souls,… Experts have repeatedly said that the UK, with its bullish support for the US and its war on terror, is a genuine and realistic target for terror groups, including the al- Qaeda network led by 11 September mastermind Osama bin Laden.12

Quoting Margaret Thatcher: “Only America has the reach and means to deal with Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein or the other wicked psychopaths who will sooner or later step into their shoes.”13

According to a recent US State Department alert: “Increased security at official US facilities has led terrorists to seek softer targets such as residential areas, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, hotels, schools, outdoor recreation events, resorts, beaches and planes.”14

Actual Terrorist Attacks

To be “effective” the fear and disinformation campaign cannot solely rely on unsubstantiated “warnings” of future attacks, it also requires “real” terrorist occurrences or “incidents”, which provide credibility to the Administration’s war plans. Propaganda endorses the need to implement “emergency measures” as well as implement retaliatory military actions.

The triggering of “war pretext incidents” is part of the Pentagon’s assumptions. In fact it is an integral part of US military history.15 In fact in 1962, the Joint Chiefs of Staff had envisaged a secret plan entitled “Operation Northwoods, to deliberately trigger civilian casualties to justify the invasion of Cuba:

“We could blow up a U.S. ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba,”

“We could develop a Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington” “casualty lists in U.S. newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation.”

(See the declassified Top Secret 1962 document titled “Justification for U.S. Military Intervention in Cuba”16 (See Operation Northwoods at http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/NOR111A.html ).

There is no evidence that the Pentagon or the CIA played a direct role in recent terrorist attacks. The latter were undertaken by organisations (or cells of these organisations), which operate quite independently, with a certain degree of autonomy. This independence is in the very nature of a covert intelligence operation. The «intelligence asset» is not in direct contact with its covert sponsors. It is not necessarily cognizant of the role it plays on behalf of its intelligence sponsors.

The fundamental question is who is behind them? Through what sources are they being financed? What is the underlying network of ties?

A recent (2002) classified outbrief drafted to guide the Pentagon «calls for the creation of a so-called « Proactive, Pre-emptive Operations Group » (P2OG), to launch secret operations aimed at “stimulating reactions” among terrorists and states possessing weapons of mass destruction — that is, for instance, prodding terrorist cells into action and exposing themselves to “quick-response” attacks by U.S. forces.» 17

The P2OG initiative is nothing new. It essentially extends an existing apparatus of covert operations. Amply documented, the CIA has supported terrorist groups since the Cold War era. This « prodding of terrorist cells » under covert intelligence operations often requires the infiltration and training of the radical groups linked to Al Qaeda.

Covert support by the US military and intelligence apparatus has been channelled to various Islamic terrorist organisations through a complex network of intermediaries and intelligence proxies. Moreover, numerous official statements, intelligence reports confirm recent links (in the post Cold War era) between US military-intelligence units and Al Qaeda operatives, as occurred in Bosnia (mid 1990s), Kosovo (1998-99) and Macedonia (2001).18

The Republican Party Committee of the US Congress in a 1997 report points to open collaboration between the US military and Al Qaeda operatives in the civil war in Bosnia.19 (See US Congress, 16 January 1997, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/DCH109A.html )

Ties to Al Qaeda and Pakistan’s Military Intelligence (ISI)

It is indeed revealing that in virtually all post 9/11 terrorist occurrences, the terrorist organization is said to have “ties to Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda”. This in itself is a crucial piece of information. Of course, the fact that Al Qaeda is a creature of the CIA is neither mentioned in the press reports nor is considered relevant.

The ties of these terrorist organizations (particularly those in Asia) to Pakistan’s military intelligence (ISI) is acknowledged in a few cases by official sources and press dispatches. Confirmed by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), some of these groups are said to have links to Pakistan’s ISI, without identifying the nature of these links. Needless to say, this information is crucial in identifying the sponsors of these terrorist attacks. In other words, the ISI is said to support these terrorist organizations, while at same time maintaining close ties to the CIA.

The Bali Bomb Attack (October 2002)

The Bali attack in the Kuta seaside resort resulted in close to 200 deaths, mainly Australian tourists. The bomb attack was allegedly perpetrated by Jemaah Islamiah, a group, which operates in several countries in South East Asia. Press reports and official statements point to close ties between Jemaah Islamiah (JI) and Al Qaeda. The JI’s “operational leader” is Riduan Isamuddin, alias Hambali, a veteran of the Soviet-Afghan war, who was trained in Afghanistan and Pakistan. According to a report by UPI:

“The [Soviet-Afghan] war provided opportunities for key figures of these groups, who went to Afghanistan, to experience firsthand the glory of jihad. Many of the radicals detained in Singapore and Malaysia derived their ideological inspiration from the activities of the Mujahideen in Afghanistan and Pakistan” 20

What the report fails to mention is that the training of the Mujahideen in Afghanistan and Pakistan was a CIA sponsored initiative launched under President Jimmy Carter in 1979, using Pakistan’s ISI as a go-between.

JI’s links to Indonesia’s Military Intelligence

There are indications, that in addition to its alleged links to Al Qaeda, Jemaah Islamiah also has links to Indonesia’s military intelligence, which in turn has links to the CIA and Australian intelligence.

The links between JI and Indonesia’s Intelligence Agency (BIN) are acknowledged by the International Crisis Group (ICG):

“This link [of JI to the BIN] needs to be explored more fully: it does not necessarily mean that military intelligence was working with JI, but it does raise a question about the extent to which it knew or could have found out more about JI than it has acknowledged.” 21

(International Crisis Group, http://www.crisisweb.org/projects/showreport.cfm?reportid=845 , 2003)

The ICG, however, fails to mention that Indonesia’s intelligence apparatus has for more than 30 years been controlled by the CIA.

In the wake of the October 2002 Bali bombing, a contradictory report emanating from Indonesia’s top brass, pointed to the involvement of both the head of Indonesian intelligence General A. M. Hendropriyono as well as the CIA:

“The agency and its director, Gen. A. M. Hendropriyono, are well regarded by the United States and other governments. But there are still senior intelligence officers here who believe that the C.I.A. was behind the bombing.”22

In response to these statements, the Bush Administration demanded that President Megawati Sukarnoputri, publicly refute the involvement of the U.S in the attacks. No official retraction was issued. Not only did President. Megawati remained silent on this matter, she also accused the US of being:

“a superpower that forced the rest of the world to go along with it… We see how ambition to conquer other nations has led to a situation where there is no more peace unless the whole world is complying with the will of the one with the power and strength.” 23

Meanwhile, the Bush Administration, had used the Bali attacks to prop up its fear campaign:

“President Bush said Monday that he assumes al-Qaeda was responsible for the deadly bombing in Indonesia and that he is worried about fresh attacks on the United States.” 24

The news [regarding the Bali attack] came as US intelligence officials warned that more attacks like the Indonesian bombing can be expected in the next few months, in Europe, the Far East or the US.”25

Cover-up

The links of JI to the Indonesian intelligence agency were never raised in the official Indonesian government investigation –which was guided behind the scenes by Australian intelligence and the CIA.

Moreover, shortly after the bombing, Australian Prime Minister John Howard “admitted that Australian authorities were warned about possible attacks in Bali but chose not to issue a warning.”26 Also In the wake of the bombings, the Australian government chose to work with Indonesia’s Special Forces the Kopassus, in the so-called “war on terrorism”.

Australia: “Useful Wave of Indignation”

Reminiscent of Operation Northwoods, the Bali attack served to trigger “a useful wave of indignation.”27 They contributed to swaying Australian public opinion in favour of the US invasion of Iraq, while weakening the anti-war protest movement. In the wake of the Bali attack, the Australian government “officially” joined the US-led “war on terrorism.” It has not only used the Bali bombings as a pretext to fully integrate the US-UK military axis, it has also adopted drastic police measures including “ethnic profiling” directed against its own citizens:

Prime Minister John Howard made the extraordinary declaration recently that he is prepared to make pre-emptive military strikes against terrorists in neighbouring Asian countries planning to attack Australia. Australian intelligence agencies also are very worried about the likelihood of an al-Qaeda attack using nuclear weapons.28

The Attacks on the Indian Parliament (December 2001)

The December 2001 terrorist attacks on the Indian Parliament –which contributed to pushing India and Pakistan to the brink of war– were allegedly conducted by two Pakistan-based rebel groups, Lashkar-e-Taiba (“Army of the Pure”) and Jaish-e-Muhammad (“Army of Mohammed”). The press reports acknowledged the ties of both groups to Al Qaeda, without however mentioning that they were directly supported by Pakistan=s ISI. The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) confirms in this regard that:

“through its Interservices Intelligence agency (ISI), Pakistan has provided funding, arms, training facilities, and aid in crossing borders to Lashkar and Jaish…Many were given ideological training in the same madrasas, or Muslim seminaries, that taught the Taliban and foreign fighters in Afghanistan. They received military training at camps in Afghanistan or in villages in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir. Extremist groups [supported by the ISI] have recently opened several new madrasas in Azad Kashmir.”29

(Council on Foreign Relations at http://www.terrorismanswers.com/groups/harakat2.html , Washington 2002)

What the CFR fails to mention is the crucial relationship between the ISI and the CIA and the fact that the ISI continues to support Lashkar, Jaish and the militant Jammu and Kashmir Hizbul Mujahideen (JKHM), while also collaborating with the CIA. Ironically, confirmed by the writings of Zbigniew Brzezinski (who happens to be a member of the CFR), the training of these “foreign fighters” was an initiative of US foreign policy, launched during the Carter Administration in 1979 at the outset of the Soviet-Afghan war. Coinciding with the 1989 Geneva Peace Agreement and the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, the ISI was instrumental in the creation of the militant Jammu and Kashmir Hizbul Mujahideen (JKHM).30 The timely attack on the Indian Parliament, followed by the ethnic riots in Gujarat in early 2002, were the culmination of a process initiated in the 1980s, financed by drug money and abetted by Pakistan’s military intelligence.

Dismantling the Propaganda Campaign, Building an Anti-War Consensus

We are at the juncture of the most serious crisis in modern history, requiring an unprecedented degree of solidarity, courage and commitment. America’s war, which includes the “first strike” use of nuclear weapons, threatens the future of humanity.

Much of the justification for waging this war without borders rests on the legitimacy of the Bush administration’s anti-terrorist programme. The latter forms part of the propaganda campaign, which in turn is used to sway the US population into an unconditional acceptance of the war agenda.

In the US, and around the world, the anti-war movement has gained in impetus. While millions of people have joined hands in opposing the war, the Bush Administration’s fear and disinformation campaign, relayed by the corporate media, has served to uphold the shaky legitimacy of the Bush administration.

At this critical crossroads, the anti-war/pro-democracy movement must necessarily move to a higher plane, which addresses the main functions of the Administration’s propaganda machine. The main purpose of propaganda is to sustain the legitimacy of the rulers and ensure that the rulers remain in power.

Undermining the Bush Administration’s « Right to Rule»

In other words, the mobilization of antiwar sentiment in itself will not reverse the tide of war.

What is needed is to consistently challenge the legitimacy of the main political and military actors, reveal the true face of the American Empire and the underlying criminalisation of foreign policy. Ultimately what is required is to question and eventually undermine the Bush Administration’s «right to rule».

Revealing the lies behind the Bush Administration is the basis for destroying the legitimacy of the main political and military actors.

Even if a majority of the population is against the war, this in itself will not prevent the war from occurring. The propaganda campaign’s objective is to sustain the lies which support the legitimacy of the main political and military actors, including Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft, Tenet, Armitage, Rice, et al. As long as the Bush Cabinet is considered a «legitimate government» in the eyes of the people and World public opinion, it will carry out the Iraqi invasion plan, whether it has public support or not.

In other words, this legitimacy must be challenged. Similarly in Britain, where a majority of the population is against the US-led war, actions must be launched which ultimately result in the downfall of the Blair Cabinet and the withdrawal of Britain from the US-led military coalition.

A necessary condition for bringing down the rulers is to weaken and eventually dismantle their propaganda campaign. How best to achieve this objective? By fully uncovering the lies behind the « war on terrorism» and revealing the complicity of the Bush administration in the events of 9/11.

This is a big hoax, it’s the biggest lie in US history. The war pretext does not stick and the rulers should be removed.

Moreover, it is important to show that « Enemy Number One » is fabricated. The terrorist attacks are indeed real, but who is behind them? The covert operations in support of terrorist organisations, including the history of Al Qaeda’s links to the CIA since the Soviet Afghan war, must be fully revealed because they relate directly to the wave of terrorist attacks which have occurred since September 11, all of which are said to have links to Al Qaeda.

To reverse the tide, the spreading of information at all levels, which counteracts the propaganda campaign is required.

The truth undermines and overshadows the lie.

And the truth is that the Bush administration is in fact supporting international terrorism as a pretext to wage war on Iraq.

Once this truth becomes fully understood, the legitimacy of the rulers will collapse like a deck of cards. This is what has to be achieved. But we can only achieve it, by effectively counteracting the official propaganda campaign.

The momentum and success of the large anti-war rallies in the US, the European Union and around the world, should lay the foundations of a permanent network composed of tens of thousands of local level anti-war committees in neighbourhoods, work places, parishes, schools, universities, etc. It is ultimately through this network that the legitimacy of those who “rule in our name will be challenged.

To shunt the Bush Administration’s war plans and disable its propaganda machine, we must, in the months ahead reach out to our fellow citizens across the land, in the US, Canada and around the world, to the millions of ordinary people who have been misled on the causes and consequences of this war, not to mention the implications of the Bush Administration’s Homeland Security legislation, which essentially sets in place the building blocks of a police state.

This initiative requires the spreading of information in an extensive grassroots network, with a view to weakening and ultimately disabling the Bush Administration’s propaganda machine.

When the lies – including those concerning September 11 – are fully revealed and understood by everybody, the legitimacy of the Bush Administration will be broken – Big Brother will have no leg to stand on, that is, no more wars to feed on. While this will not necessarily result in a fundamental and significant “regime change” in the US, a new “anti-war consensus” will have emerged, which will eventually pave the way for a broader struggle against the New World Order and the American Empire’s quest for global domination.

NOTES

1. Washington Post, 25 January 2003.

2. Ibid

Chicago Sun, 31 December 2002.

4 Reuters, 21 February 2003

5. See Ian Woods, Conspiracy of Silence, McKinney Vindicated, Global Outlook, No. 2, 2002.

6. Coleen Rowley, Memo To FBI Director Robert Mueller, quoted in Global Outlook, No. 3, 2003, p. 28.

7. The Boston Globe, 5 June 2002.

8. Insight on the News, 3 February 2003.

9. UPI, 19 December 2002.

10. New York Times, 6 January 2003.

11. Toronto Star, 5 January 2003.

12. The Scotsman, 8 January 2003.

13. UPI, 10 December 2002.

14. AFP, 3 January 2003.

15. See Richard Sanders, War Pretext Incidents, How to Start a War, Global Outlook, published in two parts, Issues 2 and 3, 2002-2003.

16.Operation Northwoods, declassified top secret document sent by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to Secretary of Defence Robert McNamara on March 13, 1962,http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/NOR111A.html .

17. William Arkin, The Secret War, The Los Angeles Times, 27 October 2002.

18. See Michel Chossudovsky, War and Globalisation, The Truth behind September 11, Global Outlook, 2003, Chapter 3, http://globalresearch.ca/globaloutlook/truth911.html

19. See Clinton-Approved Iranian Arms Transfers Help Turn Bosnia into Militant Islamic Base, Congressional Press Release, US Congress, 16 January 1997,http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/DCH109A.html

20. UPI, 6 January 2002.

21. International Crisis Group, Indonesia Backgrounder: How The Jemaah Islamiyah Terrorist Network Operates, http://www.crisisweb.org/projects/showreport.cfm?reportid=845 , 2003

22, Raymond Bonner and Jane Perlez, More Attacks on Westerners Are Expected in Indonesia, New York Times, 25 November 2002

23. Quoted in Raymond Bonner and Jane Perlez, op cit.

24. USA Today, 15 October 2002.

25. Business AM, 15 October 2002.

26. Christchurch Press, 22 November 2002), (Similar warnings were made by the CIA).

27. Operation Northwoods, op cit.

28. Insight on the News, 3 February 2003.

29. Council on Foreign Relations at:

http://www.terrorismanswers.com/groups/harakat2.htmlWashington 2002.

30. See K. Subrahmanyam, Pakistan is Pursuing Asian Goals, India Abroad, 3 November 1995.


ANNEX

Supporting evidence that successive US administrations have supported Al Qaeda is summarized below (references are provided to a selected bibliography):

  • The “Islamic Brigades” are a creation of US foreign policy. In the post-Cold War era, the CIA continues to support and use Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda in its covert operations. In standard CIA jargon, Al Qaeda is categorized as an “intelligence asset”.
  • The U.S. Congress has documented in detail, the links of Al Qaeda to agencies of the U.S. government during the civil war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, as well as in Kosovo and Macedonia.
  • The evidence confirms that Al Qaeda is supported by Pakistan’s military intelligence, the Inter-services Intelligence (ISI). Amply documented, the ISI, allegedly played an undercover role in financing the 9/11 attacks. The ISI has a close working relationship with the CIA.
  • Pakistan’s ISI has consistently supported various Islamic terrorist organizations, while also collaborating with the CIA.
  • These various terrorist groups supported by Pakistan’s ISI operate with some degree of autonomy in relation to their covert sponsors, but ultimately they act in the way which serves US interests.
  • The CIA keeps track of its “intelligence assets”. Amply documented, Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts are known. Al Qaeda is infiltrated by the CIA. In other words, there were no “intelligence failures”! The 9-11 terrorists did not act on their own volition. The suicide hijackers were instruments in a carefully planned intelligence operation.

Centre for Research on Globalization, Foreknowledge of 9/11 A Compilation of CRG articles and documents in support of a 9-11 Investigation, http://globalresearch.ca/articles/CRG204A.html

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