Oct 192016
 

By James Petras99GetSmart

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During most of the past two decades Washington has aggressively launched military and economic wars against at least nine countries, either directly or through its military aid to regional allies and proxies. US air and ground troops have bombed or invaded Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon.

More recently Washington has escalated its global economic war against major economic rivals as well as against weaker countries. The US no longer confines its aggressive impulses to peripheral economic countries in the Middle East, Latin America and Southern Asia: It has declared trade wars against world powers in Asia, Eastern and Central Europe and the Gulf states.

The targets of the US economic aggression include economic powerhouses like Russia, China, Germany, Iran and Saudi Arabia, as well as Syria, Yemen, Venezuela, Cuba, and the Donbas region of Ukraine.

There is an increasingly thinner distinction between military and economic warfare, as the US has frequently moved from one to the other, particularly when economic aggression has not resulted in ‘regime change’ – as in the case of the sanctions campaign against Iraq leading up to the devastating invasion and destruction.

In this essay, we propose to examine the strategies and tactics underlying Washington’s economic warfare, their successes and failures, and the political and economic consequences to target nations and to world stability.

Washington’s Economic Warfare and Global Power

The US has used different tactical weapons as it pursues its economic campaigns against targeted adversaries and even against its long-time allies.

Two supposed allies, Germany and Saudi Arabia, have been attacked by the Obama Administration and US Congress via ‘legal’ manipulations aimed at their financial systems and overseas holdings. This level of aggression against sovereign powers is remarkable and reckless. In 2016 the US Justice Department slapped a $14 billion dollar penalty on Germany’s leading international bank, Deutsche Bank, throwing the German stock market into chaos, driving the bank’s shares down 40% and destabilizing Germany’s financial system. This unprecedented attack on an ally’s major bank was in direct retaliation for Germany’s support of the European Commission’s $13 billion tax levy against the US-tax evading Apple Corporation for its notorious financial shenanigans in Ireland. German political and business leaders immediately dismissed Washington’s legalistic rhetoric for what it was: the Obama Administration’s retaliation in order to protect America’s tax evading and money laundering multinationals.

The chairman of the German parliament’s economic committee stated that the gross US attempt to extort Deutsche Bank had all the elements of an economic war. He noted that Washington had a “long tradition of using every available opportunity to wage what amounted to a trade war if it benefits their own economy” and the “extortionate damages claim” against Deutsche Bank were a punitive example. US economic sanctions against some of Germany’s major trade partners, like Russia, China and Iran, constitute another tactic to undermine Germany’s huge export economy. Ironically, Germany is still considered “a valued ally” when it comes to the US wars against Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, which have driven millions of refugees to Europe creating havoc with Germany’s political, economic and social system and threatening to overthrow the government of ‘ally’ Angela Merkel.

The US Congress launched an economic-judicial war against its closest ally in the Gulf region when it approved legislation granting US victims of Islamist terrorism, especially related to the attacks on September 11, 2001 the right to sue the government of Saudi Arabia and seize its overseas assets. This included the Kingdom’s immense ‘sovereign funds’ and constitutes an arbitrary and blatant violation of Saudi sovereignty. This opens the Pandora’s Box of economic warfare by allowing victims to sue any government for sponsoring terrorism, including the United States! Saudi leaders immediately reacted by threatening to withdraw billions of dollars of assets in US Treasuries and investments.

The US economic sanctions against Russia are designed to strengthen its stranglehold on the economies of Europe which rely on trade with Russia. These have especially weakened German and Polish trade relations with Russia, a major market for German industrial exports and Polish agriculture products. Originally, the US-imposed economic sanctions against Moscow were supposed to harm Russian consumers, provoke political unrest and lead to ‘regime change’. In reality, the unrest it provoked has been mainly among European exporters, whose contracts with Russia were shredded and billions of Euros were lost. Furthermore, the political and diplomatic climate between Europe and Russia has deteriorated while Washington has ‘pivoted’ toward a more militaristic approach.

Results in Asia have been even more questionable: Washington’s economic campaign against China has moved awkwardly in two directions: Prejudicial trade deals with Asian-Pacific countries and a growing US military encirclement of China’s maritime trade routes.

The Obama regime dispatched Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to promote the Trans- Pacific Partnership (TPP) among a dozen regional governments, which would blatantly exclude China, Asia’s largest economic power. In a slap to the outgoing Obama Administration, the US Congress rejected his showpiece economic weapon against China, the TPP.

Meanwhile, Obama ‘encouraged’ his erstwhile ‘allies’ in the Philippines and Vietnam to sue China for maritime violations over the disputed ‘Spratly Islands’ before the Permanent Court of Arbitration. Japan and Australia signed military pacts and base agreements with the Pentagon aimed at disrupting China’s trade routes. Obama’s so-called ‘Pivot to Asia’ is a transparent campaign to block China from its markets and trading partners in Southeast Asia and Pacific countries of Latin American. Washington’s flagrant economic warfare resulted in slapping harsh import tariffs on Chinese industrial exports, especially steel and tires. The US also sent a ‘beefed up’ air and sea armada for ‘joint exercises’ along China’s regional trade routes and its access to critical Persian Gulf oil, setting off a ‘war of tension’.

In response to Washington’s ham-fisted aggression, the Chinese government deftly rolled out the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) with over fifty countries eagerly signing on for lucrative trade and investment deals with Beijing. The AIIB’s startling success does not bode well for Obama’s ‘Pivot to Pacific Hegemony’.

The so-called US-EU-Iran accord did not end Washington’s trade war against Tehran. Despite Iran’s agreement to dismantle its peaceful uranium enrichment and nuclear research programs, Washington has blocked investors and tried to undermine trade relations, while still holding billions of dollars of Iranian state assets, frozen since the overthrow of the Shah in 1979. Nevertheless, a German trade mission signed on a three billion trade agreement with Iran in early October 2016 and called on the US to fulfill its side of the agreement with Tehran – so far to no avail.

The US stands alone in sending its nuclear naval armada to the Persian Gulf and threatens commercial relations. Even the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the longstanding enemy of the Iranian Islamic Republic, has agreed to a cooperative oil production arrangement at a recent OPEC meeting.

Washington’s declaration of economic warfare against two of its most strategic powerful allies, Germany and Saudi Arabia and three rising competitor world powers, has eroded US economic competitiveness, undermined its access to lucrative markets and increased its reliance on aggressive military strategies over diplomacy.

What is striking and perplexing about Washington’s style of economic warfare is how costly this has been for the US economy and for US allies, with so little concrete benefit.

US oil companies have lost billions in joint exploitation deals with Russia because of Obama’s sanctions. US bankers, agro-exporters, high-tech companies are missing out on lucrative sales just to ‘punish’ Russia over the incredibly corrupt and bankrupt US coup regime in Ukraine.

US multi-national corporations, especially those involved in Pacific Coast transport and shipyards, Silicon Valley high tech industry and Washington State’s agro-export producers are threatened by the US trade agreements that exclude China.

Iran’s billion dollar market is looking for everything from commercial airplanes to mining machinery. Huge trade deals have has been lost to US companies because Obama continues to impose de facto sanctions. Meanwhile, European and Asian competitors are signing contracts.

Despite Washington’s dependence on German technical knowhow and Saudi petro-dollar investments as key to its global ambitions, Obama’s irrational policies continue to undermine US trade.

Washington has engaged in economic warfare against ‘lesser economic powers’ that nevertheless play significant political roles in their regions. The US retains the economic boycott of Cuba; it wages economic aggression against Venezuela and imposes economic sanctions against Syria, Yemen and the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine. While these countries are not costly in terms of economic loss to US business interests, they exercise significant political and ideological influence in their regions, which undermine US ambitions.

Conclusion

Washington’s resort to economic warfare complements its military fueled empire building.

But economic and military warfare are losing propositions. While the US may extract a few billion dollars from Deutsch Bank, it will have lost much more in long-term, large-scale relations with German industrialists, politicians and financiers. This is critical because Germany plays the key role in shaping economic policy in the European Union. The practice of US multi-national corporations seeking off-shore tax havens in the EU may come to a grinding halt when the European Commission finishes its current investigations. The Germans may not be too sympathetic to their American competitors.

Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has not only collapsed, it has compelled China to open new avenues for trade and cooperation with Asian-Pacific nations – exactly the opposite of its original goal of isolating Beijing. China’s Asia Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB) has attracted 4 time more participants than Washington’s TPP and massive infrastructure projects are being financed to further bind ASEAN countries to China. China’s economic growth at 6.7% more than three times that of the US at 2%. Worse, for the Obama Administration, Washington has alienated its historically most reliable allies, as China, deepens economic ties and cooperation agreements with Thailand, Philippines, Pakistan, Cambodia and Laos.

Iran, despite US sanctions, is gaining markets and trade with Germany, Russia, China and the EU.

The Saudi-US conflict has yet to play-out, but any escalation of law suits against the kingdom will result in the flight of hundreds of billions of investment dollars from the US.

In effect, Obama’s campaign of economic warfare may lead to the infinitely more costly military warfare and the massive loss of jobs and profits for the US economy. Washington is increasingly isolated. The only allies supporting its campaign of economic sanctions are second and third rate powers, like Poland and current corrupt parasites in Ukraine. As long as the Poles and Ukrainians can ‘mooch’ off of the IMF and grab EU and US ‘loans’, they will cheerlead Obama’s charge against Russia. Israel, as long as it can gobble up an additional $38 billion dollars in ‘aid’ from Washington, remains the biggest advocate for war against Iran.

Washington spends billions of US tax-payer dollars on its military bases in Japan, Philippines and Australia to maintain its hegemony in the Asia-Pacific region. Its allies, though, are salivating at the prospect for greater trade and infrastructure investment deals with China.

Economic warfare doesn’t work for the Washington because the US economy cannot compete, especially when it attacks its own allies and traditional partners. Its regional allies are keen to join the ‘forbidden’ markets and share in major investment projects funded by China. Asian leaders increasingly view Washington, with its ‘pivot to militarism’ as politically unreliable, unstable and dangerous. After the Philippine government economic mission to China, expect more to ‘jump ship’.

Economic warfare against declared adversaries can only succeed if the US is committed to free trade with its allies, ends punitive sanctions and stops pushing for exclusive trade treaties that undermine its allies’ economies. Furthermore, Washington should stop catering to the whims of special domestic interests. Absent these changes, its losing campaign of economic warfare can only turn into military warfare – a prospect devastating to the US economy and to world peace.

James Petras is author of  The End of the Republic and the Delusion of EmpireExtractive Imperialism in the Americas: Capitalism’s New Frontier (with Henry Veltmeyer), and The Politics of Empire: The US, Israel and the Middle EastRead other articles by James, or visit James’s website.

Oct 052016
 

By James Petras99GetSmart

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“What Russia is sponsoring and doing [in Syria] is not counter-terrorism it is barbarism” – Samantha Power, US Representative to the United Nations

Introduction

The US representative to the United Nations, Ambassador ‘Ranting Sam’ Samantha Power, accused the Russian and Syrian governments of ‘barbarism’, claiming Moscow or Damascus had attacked an unarmed United Nations humanitarian convoy delivering aid to civilians in Aleppo. No evidence was presented. Rants and threats do not require facts or proof; they only require vehement emotional ejaculations and compliant mass propaganda organs.

‘Barbarians’, to be clear, evoke images of leaders and groups, which abjure all civilized norms and laws. They only respond to armed force.

In the present context Power’s charges of barbarism against Russia and Syria was used to justify the US aerial bombardment of a Syrian army outpost, which killed and maimed almost 200 government troops engaged in combating ISIS terrorists and jihadi invaders.

In other words, accusing Syrian soldiers of ‘barbarism’ was Ambassador Power’s cynical way of dehumanizing the young victims of an earlier and deliberate US war crime.

Let’s analyze the appropriate context for the use and abuse of the language of ‘barbarism’ – and its rightful application.

Barbarism: The Deed

Over the past decade and a half, the US and its allies have invaded, occupied, killed, wounded and dispossessed over ten million people, in countries from Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon. Military and civilian officials have systematically destroyed entire economies, fostered ethno-religious wars, undermined ancient community and family ties and placed corrupt political puppets in power.

Promoted by the US, torture, arbitrary arrest and incarceration have become the norm creating lawless and chaotic societies, which had once been productive and stable. The shredding of  social structures has provokes massive population flight, with millions of desperate refugees fleeing invasions, wars and total society breakdown. The result of these deliberate imperial policy decisions has been emptied cities and neighborhoods, broken families, destroyed lives and futures for many millions of young Arabs and Muslims.

As the human toll mounts and Western Europe is flooded with the results of US aggressive wars, the imperialists have sharpened their shrill rhetoric, labeling all of their adversaries and critics as ‘accomplices in war crimes’, and ‘barbarians’.

The greater and more sustained the policy of wanton imperial pillage, the more intense the frustration of its leaders over its ultimate failures, and the greater the recourse of its ‘diplomats’ to vituperative language.

Barbarism in Search of Barbarians

The barbarism underlying the US and EU imperial wars of conquest in the Middle East is unmatched. The principal adversaries to US aggression, Russia, China and Iran, have not invaded any sovereign countries, nor have they provoked the desperate flight of millions of refugees. Russia was invited to aid its Syrian government ally confronting an invasion of terrorist mercenaries who are intent on dividing the country. Crimea peacefully re-joined Russia via elections. Moscow rejected playing any military role in support of Western wars against Iraq, Yemen and Libya. None of this rose to the level of US-EU barbarism.

In Asia, the West has invaded and devastated Viet Nam, the Philippines and Afghanistan. Japan, now a US ally, had invaded China, Korea and Southeast Asia. China for its part has not engaged in any imperial war of conquest for centuries.

Iran has not invaded any country in modern times. On the contrary, Iraq invaded Tehran in the 1980’s with US support and waged a decade-long war which caused millions of casualties.

In truth, if waging wars, staging invasions, destroying whole societies and causing millions of deaths are the measure of barbarism, then the US, Europe and Japan have been clearly barbaric.

To claim otherwise and follow the ranting script of Ambassador Samantha Power is to enter into a tunnel of hallucinations where the language of liberal values embellishes truly barbarian acts.

The entire language of politics has been perverted and converted into an artifice of self-delusion. Terrorist militias are re-packaged as ‘rebels’ and ‘moderates’, spreading barbarism from the imperial Western center to the periphery. The deliberate spread of terrorism is itself a barbaric deed, which degrades the status of Western powers.

Conclusion

In ancient Greece, the barbarians were those outside of the empire who did not speak the language of civilization. They were savage invaders seeking to pillage the wealth and culture of the empire. Today the barbarians emerge from inside the empire and spread outward. The imperial leaders have engaged in serial wars of destruction and pillage, even as their own societies and economies wallow in ignorance, misery, debt, addiction and criminality. Imperial barbarians devastate whole cultures, erasing the great historical legacy of ancient civilizations like Iraq and Syria, while imposing their culture of morons, drugs and electronic gadgets, which has already infantilized its own population.

The empire of barbarians is infested with moneychangers and corrupt speculators. They have debased the entire legal system and legislative bodies. The public space has become a private latrine for the elite, closed to any real public discourse and debate.

Electoral spectacles, rather than reasoned debates, undermine republican principles. Imperial conquerors, enmeshed in a military metaphysic, cannot reconstruct a devastated society into a productive colony, nor can they learn or benefit from the best and brightest among its captives, as Rome did with Greece, because it has sown such destruction and salted the very soil under the feet of its conquered peoples.

The barbarian-imperial world order is constantly at war with ‘others’ and can never assimilate and learn from the precious human treasures it has so wantonly destroyed. It rules by terror abroad and deceit at home. As so crudely displayed by the imperial rants of Ambassador Samantha Power, its oratory at international forums reflect the hysteria of mediocre functionaries: mindless barbarians raving among themselves in marbled echo chambers.

In the end, the imperial barbarians will be besieged by their own fleeing vassals and puppets. When they finally confront their own decay and internal dissolution they have to decide whether to engage in a last global conflagration or dismantle the imperial barbaric order and choose justice, law and civilization.

Jan 212015
 

By William Blum, 99GetSmart

EvilYanks

After Paris, condemnation of religious fanaticism is at its height. I’d guess that even many progressives fantasize about wringing the necks of jihadists, bashing into their heads some thoughts about the intellect, about satire, humor, freedom of speech. We’re talking here, after all, about young men raised in France, not Saudi Arabia.

Where has all this Islamic fundamentalism come from in this modern age? Most of it comes – trained, armed, financed, indoctrinated – from Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. During various periods from the 1970s to the present, these four countries had been the most secular, modern, educated, welfare states in the Middle East region. And what had happened to these secular, modern, educated, welfare states?

In the 1980s, the United States overthrew the Afghan government that was progressive, with full rights for women, believe it or not 1, leading to the creation of the Taliban and their taking power.

In the 2000s, the United States overthrew the Iraqi government, destroying not only the secular state, but the civilized state as well, leaving a failed state.

In 2011, the United States and its NATO military machine overthrew the secular Libyan government of Muammar Gaddafi, leaving behind a lawless state and unleashing many hundreds of jihadists and tons of weaponry across the Middle East.

And for the past few years the United States has been engaged in overthrowing the secular Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad. This, along with the US occupation of Iraq having triggered widespread Sunni-Shia warfare, led to the creation of The Islamic State with all its beheadings and other charming practices.

However, despite it all, the world was made safe for capitalism, imperialism, anti-communism, oil, Israel, and jihadists. God is Great!

Starting with the Cold War, and with the above interventions building upon that, we have 70 years of American foreign policy, without which – as Russian/American writer Andre Vltchek has observed – “almost all Muslim countries, including Iran, Egypt and Indonesia, would now most likely be socialist, under a group of very moderate and mostly secular leaders”. 2 Even the ultra-oppressive Saudi Arabia – without Washington’s protection – would probably be a very different place.

On January 11, Paris was the site of a March of National Unity in honor of the magazine Charlie Hebdo, whose journalists had been assassinated by terrorists. The march was rather touching, but it was also an orgy of Western hypocrisy, with the French TV broadcasters and the assembled crowd extolling without end the NATO world’s reverence for journalists and freedom of speech; an ocean of signs declaring Je suis Charlie … Nous Sommes Tous Charlie; and flaunting giant pencils, as if pencils – not bombs, invasions, overthrows, torture, and drone attacks – have been the West’s weapons of choice in the Middle East during the past century.

No reference was made to the fact that the American military, in the course of its wars in recent decades in the Middle East and elsewhere, had been responsible for the deliberate deaths of dozens of journalists. In Iraq, among other incidents, see Wikileaks’ 2007 video of the cold-blooded murder of two Reuters journalists; the 2003 US air-to-surface missile attack on the offices of Al Jazeera in Baghdad that left three journalists dead and four wounded; and the American firing on Baghdad’s Hotel Palestine the same year that killed two foreign cameramen.

Moreover, on October 8, 2001, the second day of the US bombing of Afghanistan, the transmitters for the Taliban government’s Radio Shari were bombed and shortly after this the US bombed some 20 regional radio sites. US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld defended the targeting of these facilities, saying: “Naturally, they cannot be considered to be free media outlets. They are mouthpieces of the Taliban and those harboring terrorists.” 3

And in Yugoslavia, in 1999, during the infamous 78-day bombing of a country which posed no threat at all to the United States or any other country, state-owned Radio Television Serbia (RTS) was targeted because it was broadcasting things which the United States and NATO did not like (like how much horror the bombing was causing). The bombs took the lives of many of the station’s staff, and both legs of one of the survivors, which had to be amputated to free him from the wreckage. 4

I present here some views on Charlie Hebdo sent to me by a friend in Paris who has long had a close familiarity with the publication and its staff:

“On international politics Charlie Hebdo was neoconservative. It supported every single NATO intervention from Yugoslavia to the present. They were anti-Muslim, anti-Hamas (or any Palestinian organization), anti-Russian, anti-Cuban (with the exception of one cartoonist), anti-Hugo Chávez, anti-Iran, anti-Syria, pro-Pussy Riot, pro-Kiev … Do I need to continue?

“Strangely enough, the magazine was considered to be ‘leftist’. It’s difficult for me to criticize them now because they weren’t ‘bad people’, just a bunch of funny cartoonists, yes, but intellectual freewheelers without any particular agenda and who actually didn’t give a fuck about any form of ‘correctness’ – political, religious, or whatever; just having fun and trying to sell a ‘subversive’ magazine (with the notable exception of the former editor, Philippe Val, who is, I think, a true-blooded neocon).”

Dumb and Dumber

Remember Arseniy Yatsenuk? The Ukrainian whom US State Department officials adopted as one of their own in early 2014 and guided into the position of Prime Minister so he could lead the Ukrainian Forces of Good against Russia in the new Cold War?

In an interview on German television on January 7, 2015 Yatsenuk allowed the following words to cross his lips: “We all remember well the Soviet invasion of Ukraine and Germany. We will not allow that, and nobody has the right to rewrite the results of World War Two”.  5

The Ukrainian Forces of Good, it should be kept in mind, also include several neo-Nazis in high government positions and many more partaking in the fight against Ukrainian pro-Russians in the south-east of the country. Last June, Yatsenuk referred to these pro-Russians as “sub-humans” 6, directly equivalent to the Nazi term “untermenschen”.

So the next time you shake your head at some stupid remark made by a member of the US government, try to find some consolation in the thought that high American officials are not necessarily the dumbest, except of course in their choice of who is worthy of being one of the empire’s partners.

The type of rally held in Paris this month to condemn an act of terror by jihadists could as well have been held for the victims of Odessa in Ukraine last May. The same neo-Nazi types referred to above took time off from parading around with their swastika-like symbols and calling for the death of Russians, Communists and Jews, and burned down a trade-union building in Odessa, killing scores of people and sending hundreds to hospital; many of the victims were beaten or shot when they tried to flee the flames and smoke; ambulances were blocked from reaching the wounded … Try and find a single American mainstream media entity that has made even a slightly serious attempt to capture the horror. You would have to go to the Russian station in Washington, DC, RT.com, search “Odessa fire” for many stories, images and videos. Also see the Wikipedia entry on the 2 May 2014 Odessa clashes.

If the American people were forced to watch, listen, and read all the stories of neo-Nazi behavior in Ukraine the past few years, I think they – yes, even the American people and their less-than-intellectual Congressional representatives – would start to wonder why their government was so closely allied with such people. The United States may even go to war with Russia on the side of such people.

L’Occident n’est pas Charlie pour Odessa. Il n’y a pas de défilé à Paris pour Odessa.

Some thoughts about this thing called ideology

Norman Finkelstein, the fiery American critic of Israel, was interviewed recently by Paul Jay on The Real News Network. Finkelstein related how he had been a Maoist in his youth and had been devastated by the exposure and downfall of the Gang of Four in 1976 in China. “It came out there was just an awful lot of corruption. The people who we thought were absolutely selfless were very self-absorbed. And it was clear. The overthrow of the Gang of Four had huge popular support.”

Many other Maoists were torn apart by the event. “Everything was overthrown overnight, the whole Maoist system, which we thought [were] new socialist men, they all believed in putting self second, fighting self. And then overnight the whole thing was reversed.”

“You know, many people think it was McCarthy that destroyed the Communist Party,” Finkelstein continued. “That’s absolutely not true. You know, when you were a communist back then, you had the inner strength to withstand McCarthyism, because it was the cause. What destroyed the Communist Party was Khrushchev’s speech,” a reference to Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev’s 1956 exposure of the crimes of Joseph Stalin and his dictatorial rule.

Although I was old enough, and interested enough, to be influenced by the Chinese and Russian revolutions, I was not. I remained an admirer of capitalism and a good loyal anti-communist. It was the war in Vietnam that was my Gang of Four and my Nikita Khrushchev. Day after day during 1964 and early 1965 I followed the news carefully, catching up on the day’s statistics of American firepower, bombing sorties, and body counts. I was filled with patriotic pride at our massive power to shape history. Words like those of Winston Churchill, upon America’s entry into the Second World War, came easily to mind again – “England would live; Britain would live; the Commonwealth of Nations would live.” Then, one day – a day like any other day – it suddenly and inexplicably hit me. In those villages with the strange names there were people under those falling bombs, people running in total desperation from that god-awful machine-gun strafing.

This pattern took hold. The news reports would stir in me a self-righteous satisfaction that we were teaching those damn commies that they couldn’t get away with whatever it was they were trying to get away with. The very next moment I would be struck by a wave of repulsion at the horror of it all. Eventually, the repulsion won out over the patriotic pride, never to go back to where I had been; but dooming me to experience the despair of American foreign policy again and again, decade after decade. 7

The human brain is an amazing organ. It keeps working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 52 weeks a year, from before you leave the womb, right up until the day you find nationalism. And that day can come very early. Here’s a recent headline from the Washington Post: “In the United States the brainwashing starts in kindergarten.”

Oh, my mistake. It actually said “In N. Korea the brainwashing starts in kindergarten.” 8

Let Cuba Live! The Devil’s List of what the United States has done to Cuba

On May 31, 1999, a lawsuit for $181 billion in wrongful death, personal injury, and economic damages was filed in a Havana court against the government of the United States. It was subsequently filed with the United Nations. Since that time its fate is somewhat of a mystery.

The lawsuit covered the 40 years since the country’s 1959 revolution and described, in considerable detail taken from personal testimony of victims, US acts of aggression against Cuba; specifying, often by name, date, and particular circumstances, each person known to have been killed or seriously wounded. In all, 3,478 people were killed and an additional 2,099 seriously injured. (These figures do not include the many indirect victims of Washington’s economic pressures and blockade, which caused difficulties in obtaining medicine and food, in addition to creating other hardships.)

The case was, in legal terms, very narrowly drawn. It was for the wrongful death of individuals, on behalf of their survivors, and for personal injuries to those who survived serious wounds, on their own behalf. No unsuccessful American attacks were deemed relevant, and consequently there was no testimony regarding the many hundreds of unsuccessful assassination attempts against Cuban President Fidel Castro and other high officials, or even of bombings in which no one was killed or injured. Damages to crops, livestock, or the Cuban economy in general were also excluded, so there was no testimony about the introduction into the island of swine fever or tobacco mold.

However, those aspects of Washington’s chemical and biological warfare waged against Cuba that involved human victims were described in detail, most significantly the creation of an epidemic of hemorrhagic dengue fever in 1981, during which some 340,000 people were infected and 116,000 hospitalized; this in a country which had never before experienced a single case of the disease. In the end, 158 people, including 101 children, died. 9 That only 158 people died, out of some 116,000 who were hospitalized, was an eloquent testimony to the remarkable Cuban public health sector.

The complaint describes the campaign of air and naval attacks against Cuba that commenced in October 1959, when US president Dwight Eisenhower approved a program that included bombings of sugar mills, the burning of sugar fields, machine-gun attacks on Havana, even on passenger trains.

Another section of the complaint described the armed terrorist groups, los banditos, who ravaged the island for five years, from 1960 to 1965, when the last group was located and defeated. These bands terrorized small farmers, torturing and killing those considered (often erroneously) active supporters of the Revolution; men, women, and children. Several young volunteer literacy-campaign teachers were among the victims of the bandits.

There was also of course the notorious Bay of Pigs invasion, in April 1961. Although the entire incident lasted less than 72 hours, 176 Cubans were killed and 300 more wounded, 50 of them permanently disabled.

The complaint also described the unending campaign of major acts of sabotage and terrorism that included the bombing of ships and planes as well as stores and offices. The most horrific example of sabotage was of course the 1976 bombing of a Cubana airliner off Barbados in which all 73 people on board were killed. There were as well as the murder of Cuban diplomats and officials around the world, including one such murder on the streets of New York City in 1980. This campaign continued to the 1990s, with the murders of Cuban policemen, soldiers, and sailors in 1992 and 1994, and the 1997 hotel bombing campaign, which took the life of a foreigner; the bombing campaign was aimed at discouraging tourism and led to the sending of Cuban intelligence officers to the US in an attempt to put an end to the bombings; from their ranks rose the Cuban Five.

To the above can be added the many acts of financial extortion, violence and sabotage carried out by the United States and its agents in the 16 years since the lawsuit was filed. In sum total, the deep-seated injury and trauma inflicted upon on the Cuban people can be regarded as the island’s own 9-11. 10

Notes

  1. US Department of the Army, Afghanistan, A Country Study (1986), pp.121, 128, 130, 223, 232
  2. Counterpunch, January 10, 2015
  3. Index on Censorship, the UK’s leading organization promoting freedom of expression, October 18, 2001
  4. The Independent (London), April 24, 1999
  5. Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk talking to Pinar Atalay”, Tagesschau (Germany), January 7, 2015 (in Ukrainian with German voice-over)
  6. CNN, June 15, 2014
  7. See William Blum, West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir, chapter 3
  8. Washington Post, January 17, 2015, page A6
  9. William Blum, Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, chapter 30, for a capsule summary of Washington’s chemical and biological warfare against Havana.
  10. For further information, see William Schaap, Covert Action Quarterly magazine (Washington, DC), Fall/Winter 1999, pp.26-29
Jan 102014
 

By William Blum, 99GetSmart

americacowers

“At last the world knows America as the savior of the world!” – President Woodrow Wilson, Paris Peace Conference, 1919

The horrors reported each day from Syria and Iraq are enough to make one cry; in particular, the atrocities carried out by the al-Qaeda types: floggings; beheadings; playing soccer with the heads; cutting open dead bodies to remove organs just for mockery; suicide bombers, car bombs, the ground littered with human body parts; countless young children traumatized for life; the imposition of sharia law, including bans on music … What century are we living in? What millennium? What world?

People occasionally write to me that my unwavering antagonism toward American foreign policy is misplaced; that as awful as Washington’s Museum of Horrors is, al-Qaeda is worse and the world needs the United States to combat the awful jihadists.

“Let me tell you about the very rich,” F. Scott Fitzgerald famously wrote. “They are different from you and me.”

And let me tell you about American leaders. In power, they don’t think the way you and I do. They don’t feel the way you and I do. They have supported “awful jihadists” and their moral equivalents for decades. Let’s begin in 1979 in Afghanistan, where the Moujahedeen (“holy warriors”) were in battle against a secular, progressive government supported by the Soviet Union; a “favorite tactic” of the Moujahedeen was “to torture victims [often Russians] by first cutting off their nose, ears, and genitals, then removing one slice of skin after another”, producing “a slow, very painful death”. 1

With America’s massive and indispensable military backing in the 1980s, Afghanistan’s last secular government (bringing women into the 20th century) was overthrown, and out of the victorious Moujahedeen arose al Qaeda.

During this same period the United States was supporting the infamous Khmer Rouge of Cambodia; yes, the same charming lads of Pol Pot and The Killing Fields. 2

President Carter’s National Security Adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, was a leading force behind the US support of both the Moujahedeen and the Khmer Rouge. What does that tell you about that American leader? Or Jimmy Carter – an inspiration out of office, but a rather different person in the White House? Or Nobel Peace Laureate Barack Obama, who chose Brzezinski as one of his advisers?

Another proud example of the United States fighting the awful jihadists is Kosovo, an overwhelmingly Muslim province of Serbia. The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) began an armed conflict with Belgrade in the early 1990s to split Kosovo from Serbia. The KLA was considered a terrorist organization by the US, the UK and France for years, with numerous reports of the KLA having contact with al-Qaeda, getting arms from them, having its militants trained in al-Qaeda camps in Pakistan, and even having members of al-Qaeda in KLA ranks fighting against Serbia. 3 But Washington’s imperialists, more concerned about dealing a blow to Serbia, “the last communist government in Europe”, supported the KLA.

The KLA have been known for their torture and trafficking in women, heroin, and human body parts (sic). 4 The United States has naturally been pushing for Kosovo’s membership in NATO and the European Union.

More recently the US has supported awful jihadists in Libya and Syria, with awful consequences.

It would, moreover, be difficult to name a single brutal dictatorship of the second half of the 20th Century that was not supported by the United States; not only supported, but often put into power and kept in power against the wishes of the population. And in recent years as well, Washington has supported very repressive governments, such as Saudi Arabia, Honduras, Indonesia, Egypt, Colombia, Qatar, and Israel.

Not exactly the grand savior our sad old world is yearning for. (Oh, did I mention that Washington’s policies create a never-ending supply of terrorists?)

And what do American leaders think of their own record? Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was probably speaking for the whole private club when she wrote that in the pursuit of its national security the United States no longer needed to be guided by “notions of international law and norms” or “institutions like the United Nations” because America was “on the right side of history.” 5

If you’ve never done anything you wouldn’t want the government to know about, you should re-examine your life choices.

“The idea is to build an antiterrorist global environment,” a senior American defense official said in 2003, “so that in 20 to 30 years, terrorism will be like slave-trading, completely discredited.” 6

One must wonder: When will the dropping of bombs on innocent civilians by the United States, and invading and occupying their country become completely discredited? When will the use of depleted uranium, cluster bombs, CIA torture renditions, and round-the-world, round-the-clock surveillance become things that even men like George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Barack Obama, and John Brennan will be too embarrassed to defend?

Last month, a former National Security Agency official told the Washington Post that the Agency’s workers are polishing up their résumés and asking that they be cleared – removing any material linked to classified programs – so they can be sent out to potential employers. He noted that one employee who processes the résumés said, “I’ve never seen so many résumés that people want to have cleared in my life.” 7

Morale is “bad overall”, said another former official. “The news – the Snowden disclosures – it questions the integrity of the NSA workforce,” he said. “It’s become very public and very personal. Literally, neighbors are asking people, ‘Why are you spying on Grandma?’ And we aren’t. People are feeling bad, beaten down.” 8

President Obama was recently moved to declare that he would be proposing “some self-restraint on the NSA” and “some reforms that can give people more confidence.” He also said “In some ways, the technology and the budgets and the capacity [at NSA] have outstripped the constraints. And we’ve got to rebuild those in the same way that we’re having to do on a whole series of capacities … [such as] drone operations.” 9

Well, dear readers and comrades, we shall see. But if you’re looking for a glimmer of hope to begin a new year, you may as well try grabbing onto these little offerings. When the American Empire crumbles, abroad and at home, as one day it must, Edward Snowden’s courageous actions may well be seen as one of the key steps along that road. I’ve long maintained that only the American people have the power to stop The Imperial Machine – the monster that eats the world’s environment, screws up its economies, and spews violence on every continent. And for that to happen the American people have to lose their deep-seated, quasi-religious belief in “American Exceptionalism”. For many, what they’ve been forced to learn the past six months has undoubtedly worn deep holes into the protective armor that has surrounded their hearts and minds since childhood.

A surprising and exhilarating example of one of these holes in the armor is the New Year’s day editorial in the New York Times that is now well known. Entitled “Edward Snowden, Whistle-blower” – itself a legitimation of his actions – its key part says: “Considering the enormous value of the information he has revealed, and the abuses he has exposed, Mr. Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight. He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service.”

The president has been moved to appoint a committee to study NSA abuses. This of course is a standard bureaucratic maneuver to keep critics at bay. But the committee – Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies – did come up with a few unexpected recommendations in its report presented December 13, the most interesting of which perhaps are these two:

“Governments should not use surveillance to steal industry secrets to advantage their domestic industry.”

“Governments should not use their offensive cyber capabilities to change the amounts held in financial accounts or otherwise manipulate the financial systems.” 10

The first recommendation refers to a practice, though certainly despicable, that is something the United States has been doing, and lying about, for decades. 11 Just this past September, James Clapper, Director of US National Intelligence, declared: “What we do not do, as we have said many times, is use our foreign intelligence capabilities to steal the trade secrets of foreign companies.” 12

Clapper is the same gentleman who told Congress in March that the NSA does not intentionally collect any kind of data on millions of Americans; and, when subsequently challenged on this remark, declared: “I responded in what I thought was the most truthful, or least untruthful, manner by saying ‘no’.” 13

The second recommendation had not been revealed before, in a Snowden document or from any other source.

“That was a strangely specific recommendation for something nobody was talking about,” observed the director of a government transparency group. 14

ABC News reported that “A spokesperson for the NSA declined to comment on the issue of bank account hacking, and a representative for U.S. Cyber Command did not immediately return an emailed request for comment.” 15

Manipulating bank records is about as petty and dishonorable as a superpower can behave, and could conceivably, eventually, lead to the end of the NSA as we’ve all come to know and love it. On the other hand, the Agency no doubt holds some very embarrassing information about anyone in a position to do them harm.

The bombing of Flight 103 – Case closed?

When the 25th anniversary of the 1988 bombing of PanAm Flight 103 occurred on December 21 I was fully expecting the usual repetitions of the false accusation against Libya and Moammar Gaddafi as being responsible for the act which took the lives of 270 people over and in Lockerbie, Scotland. But much to my surprise, mingled with such, there were a rash of comments skeptical of the official British-US version, made by various people in Scotland and elsewhere, including by the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom and Libya.

In a joint statement the three governments said they were determined to unearth the truth behind the attack. “We want all those responsible for this brutal act of terrorism brought to justice, and to understand why it was committed”, they declared. 16

Remarkable. In 1991, the United States indicted a Libyan named Adelbaset al-Megrahi. He was eventually found guilty of being the sole perpetrator of the crime, kept in prison for many years, and finally released in 2009 when he had terminal cancer, allegedly for humanitarian reasons, although an acute smell of oil could be detected. And now they speak of bringing to justice “those responsible for this brutal act of terrorism”.

The 1988 crime was actually organized by Iran in retaliation for the American shooting down of an Iranian passenger plane in July of the same year, which took the lives of 290 people. It was carried out by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command (PFLP-GC), a 1968 breakaway from a component of the Palestine Liberation Organization, with some help from Syria. And this version was very widely accepted in the Western world, in government and media circles. Until the US buildup to the Gulf War came along in 1990 and the support of Iran and Syria was needed. Then, suddenly, we were told that it was Libya behind the crime.

If the US and UK now wish to return to Iran, and perhaps Syria, as the culprits, they will have a lot of explaining to do about their previous lie. But these two governments always have a lot of explaining to do. They’re good at it. And the great bulk of their indoctrinated citizens, with little resistance, will accept the new/old party line, and their mainstream media will effortlessly switch back to the old/new official version, since Iran and Syria are at the top of the current list of Bad Guys. (The PFLP-GC has been quiescent for some time and may scarcely exist.)

If you’re confused by all this, I suggest that you start by reading my detailed article on the history of this case, written in 2001 but still very informative and relevant. You may be rather surprised.

The UK, US and Libyan governments have now announced that they will co-operate to reveal “the full facts” of the Lockerbie bombing. And Robert Mueller, the former head of the FBI, said he believes more people will be charged. This could be very interesting.

Notes

  1. Washington Post May 11, 1979; New York Times, April 13 1979
  2. William Blum, “Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower” (2005), chapter 10
  3. RT TV (Russia Today, Moscow), May 4, 2012
  4. Associated Press, December 14, 2010
  5. Foreign Affairs (Council on Foreign Relations), January/February 2000 issue
  6. New York Times, January 17, 2003
  7. Washington Post, December 7, 2013
  8. Washington Post, December 18, 2013
  9. Washington Post, December 7, 2013
  10. “Liberty and Security in a Changing World”, p.221
  11. See Anti-Empire Report, #118, June 26, 2013, second part
  12. Statement by Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper on Allegations of Economic Espionage, September 8, 2013
  13. NBC News, June 9, 2013
  14. Kel McLanahan, executive director of National Security Counselors, speaking toABC News Radio, December 23, 2013
  15. ABC News Radio, December 23, 2013
  16. Reuters news agency, December 22, 2013

 

Oct 112013
 

By James Petras, 99GetSmart

286161-01-08

Introduction

Obama’s rhetorical exercise in ‘peace talk’ at the United Nations General Assembly impressed few delegations and even fewer Americans: Far more eloquent are his five years of wars, military interventions, cyber-spying, drone murders, military coups and the merciless prosecution of patriotic truth tellers.

If his ‘peace message’ fell flat, the explicit affirmations of imperial prerogatives, threats of military interventions and over two dozen (25) references to Israel as a ‘strategic ally’, confirmed the suspicions and fears that Obama was preparing for even more deadly wars.

Playing the ‘War Card’ in the Face of Massive Opposition

Obama’s UN speech took place at a time when his war policies have hit rock bottom both at home and abroad. After suffering at least two major diplomatic defeats and a string of negative polls, which revealed that a strong majority of Americans rejected his entire approach to foreign policy, Obama made an overture to Iran. Up to that point few delegates or citizens were impressed or entertained by his ‘new vision for US diplomacy’. According to many experts, it was vintage Obama, the con-man: talking peace while preparing new wars.

Nothing in the past six years warranted any hope that Obama would respond to new overtures for peace emanating from Iran, Syria or Palestine; his habitual obedience to Israel would push for new wars on behalf of the Jewish State. At no point did Obama even acknowledge the sharp and outraged criticism by leading heads of state regarding his policy of cyber colonialism (massive spying) and his pursuit of imperial wars.

Obama’s Double Discourse: Talking Peace While Making War

At his 2009 inauguration, Barak Obama proclaimed, “We are going to have to take a new approach with a new emphasis on respect and a new willingness to talk.”  And then he proceeded to launch more wars, armed interventions, clandestine operations and assassination campaigns in more countries than any US President in the last fifty years.

Obama’s record over the past five years reads:

(1)    Continued war, slaughter and military bases in Iraq.

(2)    A 40,000 plus US “troop surge” in Afghanistan

(3)    An unprovoked assault against Libya, devastating the country, reducing oil production by 90%, throwing millions into chaos and poverty. and allowing a multitude of terrorist groups to divide the country and distribute its huge arsenal of weapons.

(4)    Over 400 un-manned aerial drone attacks, murdering over 4,000 civilians in Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan and Somalia.

(5)    Cross-border ground and air attacks in Pakistan and counter-insurgency warfare that forcing over 1.5 million refugees to flee the war zones.

(6)    The arming and financing of ‘African Union’ mercenaries to invade and occupy Somalia, sending hundreds of thousands of Somalis into refugee camps.

(7)    Unconditional support for Israel, including the ‘sale’ of advanced weapons and an annual $3 billion dollars ‘aid’ package to a racist regime intent on more land grabs in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, as well as the displacing, killing, arresting and torturing of thousands of Palestinians and Bedouins.

(8)    The sending of the US Naval armada to the Persian Gulf while imposing even more brutal economic sanctions drafted by Israeli-Firsters in order to strangle the Iranian economy and starve its over 70 million citizens into submission.

(9)    Maintaining the notorious Guantanamo torture camp where hundreds of prisoners languish without trail (despite early promises to close it).

(10)    Arming and training Islamist terrorists and ‘pro-Western’ mercenaries to invade Syria, killing over 100,000 Syrians and driving over one million refugees from their homes.  Obama’s plans to bomb Syria are on hold, as of October 2013, thanks to Russian President Putin’s peace initiative.

(11)    Engaging in grotesque global cyber-spying and the massive theft of highly confidential military, economic and political communications within allied nations (from Germany to Brazil) at the highest levels.

(12)    Unleashing a violent destabilization campaign in democratic Venezuela, following the defeat of the US candidate; Obama was the only leader in the world to refuse to recognize the election.

Altogether, Obama’s five years in office have been marked by his relentless pursuit of imperial power through arms and domination; This has come at enormous economic cost to the American people in the form of huge fiscal deficits and significant overseas and domestic political losses.

As a result, Obama’s rising tide of militarism has had the opposite effect of provoking a countercurrent of peace initiatives to challenge the assumptions and prerogatives of the war-mongers in the White House. The dynamics of this immense clash between the global war and peace forces will be played out in the next several months.

The Dynamics of Obama’s Foreign Policy

Obama’s future policy reflects the interplay between a highly militarized past and the tremendous current pressure for peace and diplomacy. The changes emerging from these powerful conflicting forces will have a decisive impact on the global configuration of power, as well as on the trajectory of the US economy for the foreseeable future.

We have proceeded by outlining in telegraphic form the principle events and policies defining Obama’s embrace of a militarist policy over the past five years. We will now proceed to highlight the current countervailing forces and events pressuring the White House to adopt a diplomatic and peaceful resolution of conflicts. We will identify the leading pro-war power configuration acting as an obstacle to peace. In the final section we will spell out the policy resulting from these conflicting forces.

The Dynamics of Peace against the Legacy of War

By the early fall 2013, powerful tendencies emerged which seemed to undermine or, at least, neutralize Washington’s drive to new and more deadly wars. Eight major events constrained Washington’s empire builders to temporarily rethink their immediate steps to war.

These include: (1)   President Vladimir Putin’s proposal for Syria to destroy its chemical weapons, under UN supervision, denying the US its current pretext for bombing Damascus. The subsequent UN Security Council resolution, which was unanimously approved, did not contain the ‘war clause’ (Chapter 7) – thereby removing Washington’s pretext to bomb Syria for ‘non-compliance’ to the tight time-table for disarming its chemical arsenal.

(2)   Iran’s President Rohani’s calls for peace and reconciliation, his offer to start prompt and consequential negotiations regarding Iran’s nuclear program has isolated Israel and its Zionist agents in the international arena and forced Obama to reciprocate, resulting in a move toward US-Iranian negotiations.

(3)   Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff’s, powerful denunciation of  US cyber spying against her government, economy and citizens before the General Assembly resonated with the vast majority of political leaders. Coming from the most powerful economy in Latin America, the sixth largest economy in the world and a leading member of the BRICs, Rousseff’s rejection of US cyber-colonialism and its IT and telecommunication corporations and her call for  national development, control  and ownership of these communication networks, set a clear anti-colonial tone to the proceedings. Washington’s response, its affirmation of its ‘right’ to spy on allies and their private citizens, as well as foes, has isolated Washington and found few supporters for such global cyber-imperial pretensions. To accommodate Brazil, Washington will be forced to enter into negotiations and acknowledge (if not comply with) Brazil’s demands.

(4)   US domestic public opinion, in the run-up to Putin’s diplomatic solution of the Syrian crisis, was overwhelmingly opposed to Obama’s moves to bomb Syria. By a margin of two to one, the American electorate opposed any new war; and Congress was prepared to heed its constituents, as letters were running nine to one against war. In other words, Obama lacked domestic support for attacking Syria and was under strong pressure to accept Putin’s diplomatic solution. The mass involvement of American citizens, at least temporarily, pushed back the war-mongers among Israel’s wealthy and influential backers in Washington.

(5)   Obama’s militarist foreign policy faces pressure from the Congressional deadlock over the budget and debt ceilings. Lacking a federal budget and with government offices closing, the White House has been forced to lay-off millions of military and civilian employees. Obama is not in a position to launch a costly new war, even if his Zionist patrons are “storming” Congress and clambering for one. The ‘fiscal crisis of the state’, which exploded in September 2013, is turning into a powerful political antidote to the policy of serial wars Obama undertook during his first five years in office. The debt-ceiling crisis and its aftermath further weaken the White House’s capacity and willingness to pursue an extended war agenda in the Middle East. Congress’s refusal to raise the debt ceiling, without budget reductions, could foreshadow a crisis in financial markets spreading to the world economy and leading to profound recession. The White House has its hands full trying to stabilize the domestic economy and placate Wall Street, thus weakening its willingness to engage in a new war.

One caveat: It is possible that, facing political divisions and an economic crisis, political adventurers and pro-Israel advisers might convince Obama to launch a war to ‘unify the country’ and ‘divert attention’ from his domestic debacle. A military distraction, of course, could backfire; it could be seen as a partisan ploy and deepen domestic divisions, especially if a US attack on Iran or Syria led to a wider war.

(6)   The Snowden revelations of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) global spying have weakened the White House’s ties to its allies and heightened antagonism with its adversaries. Trust and co-operation, especially with regard to intelligence, have been weakened in Asia, Latin America and, to a lesser degree, in Europe. Several countries are discontinuing the use of US-IT companies which had collaborated with the NSA.  By losing access to the communications of top officials in targeted countries, these revelations may have undermined Washington’s global reach. Obama and Kerry’s outrageous justifications for spying on their allies and private citizens and their defense of intervention in cyber space have stirred up powerful political currents of anti-imperialism among major trade partners. At the UN General Assembly Bolivian President Evo Morales asserted, ‘The US is mistaken if it thinks it is the owner of the world’. His attack on US military imperialism, “… terrorism is combatted through social policy not with military bases”…  resonated among the vast majority of UN delegates. In stark contrast, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s bellicose speech received a hostile reception among those heads of state who didn’t simply walk out in disgust.

The Snowden disclosures of cyber-imperialism has seriously weakened the US capacity for war by exposing its intelligence operations and discrediting the war mongers associated with the NSA, making war planning more difficult.

The domestic and foreign forces, as well as world conditions for peace, would be overwhelming in any normal imperial system. But there is a ‘special factor’, a powerful ‘undertow’, which opposes the forces for peace, i.e. Israel and its US-based billionaire funded, 300,000 member-strong national and local Zionist Power Configuration (ZPC) deeply embedded in government and civil society.

Against the Winds of Peace:  The Zionist Power Configuration

On September 29, 2013, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu landed in New York, as part of an Israeli campaign to undermine world-wide support for a peaceful resolution of the war against Syria and the US-Iranian conflict. On September 30, Netayanhu met with President Obama and addressed the United Nations General Assembly the next day. Israel and Netanyahu represent the biggest and most powerful obstacle to the growing “tide of peace”. Given its status as a pariah state and the global community’s negative view of Israel and its bullying Prime Minister, Netanyahu has to rely almost exclusively on the US to maintain its monopoly of nuclear weapons in the region, its vast stockpile of chemical weapons and its military supremacy in the Middle East. The White House and the US Congress are crucial institutions backing Israel’s ambition for uncontested hegemony in the Middle East. And the Zionist Power Configuration is decisive in setting US policy throughout the region.

The ZPC operates on several levels: (1)  dozens of Zionist billionaires and millionaires fund Washington-based propaganda mills (so-called ‘think tanks’), an army of pro-Israel Middle East ‘experts’ and Ivy League publicists, the 52 major American Zionist organizations and their 300,00 zealous militants. They pour tens of millions of dollars into electoral campaigns throughout the country, rewarding compliant politicians who support any legislation or resolution submitted by Zionist politicos and lobbyists (while brutally punishing any congressional ‘dissenters)’.

(2)  Dozens of Zionist zealots occupy key positions within the Administration, especially as appointees dealing with the Middle East and Treasury, ensuring that US policymakers  impose economic sanctions on Israel’s enemies and pursue wars in Israel’s interests. They unconditionally back Israel in of its attacks on its neighbors and block any sanctioning vote in the UN. They make sure that Israel receives the most advanced weapons and the US Treasury pays its annual $3 billion-plus dollar tribute to the Jewish State.

(3)  The Presidents of the 52 Major American Jewish Organizations and their militants ensure local and national support for Israel, even at the expense of domestic US interests and priorities. The zealots actively intervene to ban, censor or threaten the employment of any critic of Israel or the ZPC – extending to the most mundane local level of harassment. They successfully limit the content and participants in the mass media, world affairs forums and university programs with their threats and bullying.

The mass media are controlled by pro-Israel moguls, news reporters and commentators who mold public perception of Israel claiming it to be a ‘bastion of democracy’ while labelling Iran a “terrorist Islamist dictatorship”. Media analyst Steve Lendman describes, in his article entitled, “Israel Launches Anti-Rohani Media Blitz”, Netanyahu’s repeated lies on questions pertaining to Iran’s nuclear program and how the major US news media parrot Israel’s bellicose propaganda. The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg back Netanyahu’s demand for harsh economic sanctions and threats of aggression against Iran. The Daily Alert , mouthpiece of the 52 Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organization, reproduces and circulates scores of libelous polemical diatribes denigrating President Rohani, and slavishly praise each and every bellicose eruption out from the mouths of Israeli politicians and generals. For example, leading Zionist propagandist, Jeffrey Goldberg calls President Rohani a “dishonest war monger” dismissing his peace overtures because he is not “ready to shut down his country’s nuclear program”. Aaron David Miller, another one of Israel’s Washington intellectuals, echoes Netanyahu’s “concerns about wily Iranian mullahs bearing gifts” while demanding that the US government “take care of Israel’s concerns”. The Zionist demand that the US “secure Israel’s concerns” is a no brainer because the Jewish state is determined to strip Iran of its sovereignty, surrender its entire medical and civilian nuclear program and submit to Israeli regional hegemony…

The US and British press reported that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has launched their own ‘full- scale invasion’ of the US Congress, sending over 300 full-time lobbyists to sabotage any form of rapprochement between the US and Iran. Just prior to the UN General Assembly meeting, AIPAC militants were writing legislation for the US Congress, which imposed new additional sanctions to further undermine Iranian oil exports; their efforts secured “bi-partisan” support of over 300 members of Congress. While President Obama faces a divided Congress, the Israel-Firsters from AIPAC easily secure a near unanimous vote to scupper any diplomatic dialog between Washington and Teheran. These new extremist sanctions were dictated by the Israeli Foreign Office and are designed to sabotage any White House negotiations.

While some mainstream newspapers, like the Financial Times, describe the “suspicions in Congress which raise the bar for a deal”, they fail to mention the extraordinary intervention and influence of AIPAC in sowing these “suspicions” – and authoring all anti-Iran legislation over the past two years! The mass media covers up the central role of the ZPC in opposing a US dialogue with Iran, and in subverting the push for peace favored by the vast majority of war-weary and economically-battered Americans. Even ‘progressive and leftist’ weeklies, monthlies and quarterlies are silent on the overwhelming role of the ZPC.  Leading left journalists systematically skirt around any in- depth discussion of the AIPAC and the 52 pro-Israel Jewish organizations in manipulating the US Congress, the mass media and the Executive branch.

Any writer who attends US legislative committee hearings on the Middle East or observes Congressional debates, or interviews Congressional staff-members and lobbyists, or reads AIPAC reports, can compile ample public documentation of the major role that Israel, through it US Zionist organizations and agents, plays in dictating US-Iran relations. Nothing illustrates the extreme power the ZPC exercises over US policy toward Iran than the thundering silence of ‘progressives’ over the central ZPC role in policymaking. Is it simply cowardice or fear of being slandered as an ‘anti-Semite’? Or is it fear of being excluded or blacklisted by major media and publications? Or is it complicity: Being ‘critical of privileges and power’ while selectively excluding mention of Zionist access and influence?

So we have the situation in the US today where the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu dictates the ‘negotiating terms’ to the Presidents of the 52 Major American Jewish Organizations. According to Netanyahu’s dictates, the Islamic Republic of Iran must stop all uranium enrichment – including that for medical, research and energy use, close the enrichment facilities at Qom, remove all enriched uranium and halt the production of plutonium. Having set these ridiculous, sovereignty-killing conditions on Iran and having the unconditional support of the entire ZPC, Netanyahu proceeds to sabotage the peaceful, diplomatic process via the lap-puppies in the US Congress. As one Washington pundit noted the Obama regime “is very conscious of the fact that Israeli views on Iran have a large influence (sic) on opinion in the US Congress”.

No country on any continent would or could accept the terms dictated by Israel and its Fifth Column in the US – terms that undermine national sovereignty. In fact, all countries with nuclear power facilities and advanced medical and research institutions engage in some or all of these activities. By setting these extremist terms, Netanyahu is in effect dooming the negotiations from the start and setting the stage for war, the so-called “military option” that both he and Obama agree would follow from a collapse in negotiations.

In a rational democratic world, most experts would argue that the new alignment of forces for peace, including the vast and growing domestic opposition to new wars and world public opinion in favor of President Rohani’s overtures for negotiations, the US could easily ignore Israel’s war mongering. But a more realistic and reflective analysis, however, would argue that the negotiations will only proceed with great difficulty, especially in the face of ZPC sabotage in adding new sanctions rather than a good-faith act of cutting or reducing the current sanctions.

The Israeli-ZPC ‘war offensive’ went into high gear precisely at the moment when world public opinion, the UN and even the White House enthusiastically welcomed the peace overtures from newly elected Iranian President Rohani.

The purpose was to sabotage any dialogue with Iran before they even began.  The ZPC took the following measures:

1.    AIPAC and its clients in the US Congress have circulated new harsh sanctions and rapidly signed up dozens of Congressional supporters.  The entire Zionist apparatus, led by the ‘52 Presidents of the Major Jewish American Organizations’, backed the latest and most severe sanctions against the Iranian oil industry.  They followed Netanyahu’s dictate to make the Iranian economy collapse.  The purpose of the ZPC is to create the worst possible conditions for negotiations – undermining the ‘goodwill’ following Obama’s gestures (the phone conversation with Rohani) and sure to provoke widespread opposition among the sanction-weary Iranian population against a US-Iran dialogue.

2.    The notorious Israeli spy outfit, Mossad, was most probably involved in the brutal assassination of Iran’s official in charge of cyber-defense, Mojtaba Ahmadi.  Most experts agree that, since 2007, Israel’s intelligence agency has been behind the horrific assassinations of five Iranian nuclear engineers and scientists, as well as the head of their ballistic missile program.  The timing of the current Mossad outrage is designed to further poison the climate for US-Iranian negotiations, even though the victim this time is not directly linked to Iran’s nuclear program.

3.    Netanyahu’s speech to the General Assembly was pure corrosive vitriol, character assassination and fabrication.  He made constant reference to Iran’s ‘nuclear weapons program’, although on-site reports from the International Atomic Energy Agency and sixteen US intelligence agencies have repeatedly shown that no such program exists. Nevertheless, thanks to the power and influence of the ZPC, Netanyahu’s venomous message was relayed by all the major media and picked up and repeated by influential pro-Israel think tanks, academics and pundits.  Netanyahu unleashed the Zionist pro-war propaganda machine to energize Jewish powerbrokers to ‘put the squeeze’ on the White House.  The effect was immediate:  Obama rushed out to parrot Netanyahu’s lies that Iran had a nuclear weapons program.  Secretary of State Kerry obediently pledged to keep ‘the military option’ for dealing with Iran ‘on the table’ – in other words, the threat of a unilateral attack.  UN Ambassador Samantha Power demanded the newly elected President Rohani make immediate concessions in order to prove his “seriousness”.

Conclusion:  World Peace or Zionist War ?

Recent political and diplomatic changes provide the world community with a measure of optimism regarding the prospects for peace. Under intense pressure from US public opinion, Obama temporarily went along with Russian President Putin’s diplomatic approach over chemical weapons in Syria.

The UN General Assembly’s favorable response to Iranian President Rohani’s call for dialogue has compelled Obama to openly consider direct negotiations with Teheran over its nuclear program.

World public opinion, favorable interlocutors in Iran, bold diplomatic initiatives from Russia, and cooperative behavior from Damascus, all events pointing to a peaceful resolution of current Middle East conflicts, face a formidable enemy embedded in the very centers of power in the United States, the ZPC, which acts on behalf of the ultra-militarist Israeli state.

Over the years, the ZPC has successfully pushed for crippling sanctions and wars against a number of Israel’s regional opponents. Leading Zionists in the Bush regime fabricated the myth of Saddam Hussein’s ‘weapons of mass destruction’  leading the US to invade, occupy and destroy Iraq, despite massive opposition from the US public on the eve of the invasion. Zionists in US Treasury and in the White House slapped broad economic sanctions on Iraq, Iran and Syria –  preventing the biggest US oil companies from investing and trading with these resource-rich nations, which cost ‘Big Oil’ close to $500 billion in lost revenues. An empirical study of congressional committees, legislative debates, resolutions and voting behavior demonstrates that the ZPC co-authored the sanction legislation and administrators, linked to the ZPC, implemented the measures.

The popular notion that ‘Big Oil’ was responsible for these wars and sanctions, as part of some scheme to take over the oil production facilities of Iraq and Iran, lacks empirical basis. The ZPC defeated ‘Big Oil’: Exon, Mobil and Chevron were no match for the ZPC when it came to penetrating Congress, authoring legislation, mobilizing billionaires to fund Congressional campaigns, organizing thousands of zealous militants or influencing the mass media – including the Wall Street Journal. The governments of billions of poor people in Africa, Asia and Latin America can only dream of the annual $3 billion dollar tribute that the ZPC secures for Israel from the American tax-payers for the past 30-plus years.

The UN Security Council and its Human Rights Commission are powerless to sanction Israel for its  war crimes because the ZPC guarantees a US veto of any resolution. Despite the opposition of the entire Muslim world, the ZPC ensures that Washington will continue to support Israel’s colonial expansion and land grabs in the occupied Palestinian territory, and its bombing of Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Sudan. In other words, the ZPC has successfully undermined the interests of the biggest US multi-national corporations, the position of the UN Security Council and the needs of billions of poor in the Third World. The ZPC induces the US to start prolonged brutal wars costing the US economy over a trillion dollars and totally destroying six sovereign countries (Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia). Today Israel and the ZPC set the terms for US-Iran negotiations – dooming them to failure. The mass media echo Netanyahu’s scurrilous (and infantile) characterization of President Rohani as ‘untrustworthy’, and   a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’. And US Secretary of State John Kerry parrots Netanyahu’s lies about Iran’s nuclear arms program. Shortly  after his talk with Rohani, US President Obama dutifully made his report of the entire conversation to Netanyahu – seeking Israel’s approval. Obama then met with his Israeli ‘handlers’ and pledged fealty to the interests of Israel, bleating out that ‘military option (to attack Iran) is still on the table’. For the one hundred and ninety-first time (over the past year) President Obama pledged the US’ unconditional support to defend Israel. Like a broken record (or broken political hack), Obama repeated that “Israel must (sic) reserve the right to take military action against Iran it if feels threatened by Iran”.

The Zionist propaganda apparatus has set the terms for the US government with regard to Iran. Tel Aviv orders and the ZPC demands that Obama ‘negotiate’ under Israeli terms. Iran, the ZPC insists, must provide detailed information on its military bases and defenses, end its legal enrichment of uranium for civilian use, turn over its existing stockpiles, end the production of plutonium at the Arak facility, dismantle the underground research facilities at Fordow and cease the conversion of first generation centrifuges to more efficient second generation ones.

President Obama might then permit the Iranians to enrich uranium to about 3.5 percent, operate a few primitive centrifuges and maintain a tiny stock of enriched uranium – for medical purposes …  These are condition which Israel and the ZPC know that no free and independent country or national leader would ever accept. The Zionists seek to sabotage diplomacy in order to push the US into another Gulf war which they believe will establish Israel as the un-challenged regional hegemon.

It is essential for the peace camp in the United States to expose the role of the ZPC in dictating the US negotiating terms with Iran and publicly repudiate its control over the US Congress and the White House.  Otherwise the majority of Americans who favor peace and diplomacy will have no influence in shaping US-Iran relations. The problem is that the majority of anti-war Americans and the international community cannot match the billionaire Jewish Zionists in buying and controlling the members of the US Congress. AIPAC has no rival among Christians, Muslims or even anti-Zionist Jews. The pro- peace Pope Francis from his pulpit in the Vatican cannot match the power of the Presidents of the 52 Major Jewish American Organizations whose militants can literally “storm Washington” and push the US into war!

Until the 99% of non-Zionist Americans (off all ethnicities and persuasions) organize as a coherent force to push back the tiny 1% – Israel’s Fifth Column – all the hopes for peace wakened by President Putin initiative on Syria and President Rohani’s diplomatic opening at the United Nation, will collapse. Worse, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu will again lead an American President, Obama, by the nose, from sabotaged diplomacy into another costly Gulf War, one in which thousands of US soldiers (not a single Zionist among them) and tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of Iranians will perish!

Aug 142013
 

By James Petras, 99GetSmart

middle-east11-1

Introduction

Representative democracies and autocratic dictatorships respond to profound internal crises in very distinctive ways: the former attempts to reason with citizens, explaining the causes, consequences and alternatives; dictatorships attempt to terrorize, intimidate and distract the public by evoking bogus external threats, to perpetuate and justify rule by police state methods and avoid facing up to the self-inflicted crises.

Such a bogus fabrication is evident in the Obama regime’s current announcements of an imminent global “terrorist threat”[1] in the face of multiple crises, policy failures and defeats throughout the Middle East, North Africa and Southwest Asia.

Internet ‘Chatter’ Evokes a Global Conspiracy and Revives the Global War on Terror

The entire terror conspiracy propaganda blitz, launched by the Obama regime and propagated by the mass media, is based on the flimsiest sources imaginable, the most laughable pretext. According to White House sources, the National Security Agency, the CIA and other spy agencies claimed to have monitored and intercepted unspecified Al-Qaeda threats, conversations by two Al Qaeda figures including Ayman al Zawahiri[2].

Most damaging, the Obama regime’s claim of a global threat by al-Qaeda, necessitating the shutdown of 19 embassies and consuls and a world-wide travelers alert, flies in the face of repeated public assertions over the past five years that Washington has dealt ‘mortal blows’ to the terrorist organization crippling its operative capacity[3] and citing the US “military successes” in Afghanistan and Iraq, its assassination of Bin Laden, the drone attacks in Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia and the US-backed invasion of Libya.  Either the Obama regime was lying in the past or its current terror alert is a fabrication. If, as Obama and the NSA currently claim, Al Qaeda has re-emerged as a global terrorist threat, then twelve years of warfare in Afghanistan and eleven years of war in Iraq, the spending of $1.46 trillion dollars, the loss of over seven thousand US soldiers[4] and the physical and psychological maiming of over a hundred thousand US combatants has been a total and unmitigated disaster and the so-called war on terror is a failure.

The claim of a global terror threat, based on NSA surveillance of two Yemen-based Al Qaeda leaders, is as shallow as it is implausible. Every day throughout cyberspace one or another Islamist terrorist group or individual discuss terror plots, fantasies and plans of no great consequence.

The Obama regime fails to explain why, out of thousands of daily internet ‘conversations’, this particular one, at this particular moment, represents an ongoing viable terrorist operation. One does not need a million spies to pick up jihadist chatter about “attacking Satan”.

For over a decade, Al Qaeda operatives in Yemen have been engaging in a proxy war with Washington-backed regimes and over the same time the Obama regime has been engaged in drone and Special Forces assassination mission against Yemeni militants and opposition figures[5]. In other words, the Obama regime has magnified commonplace events, related to an ongoing conflict known to the public, into a new global terrorist threat as revealed by his spymasters because of their high powered espionage prowess!

It is more than obvious that the Obama regime is engaged in a global fabrication designed to distract world public opinion and, in particular, the majority of US citizens, from police state spying and violations of basic constitutional freedoms.

By evoking a phony “terrorist threat” and its detection by the NSA, Obama hopes to re-legitimate his discredited police state apparatus.

More important, by raising the specter of a global terrorist threat, the Obama regime seeks to cover-up the most disreputable policies, despicable “show trials” and harsh imprisonment of government whistle blowers and political, diplomatic and military defeats and failures which have befallen the empire in the present period.

The Timing of the Fabrication of the Global Terror Threat

In recent years the US public has grown weary of the cost and inconclusive nature of the ‘global war on terror’, or GWOT.  Public opinion polls support the withdrawal of troops from overseas wars and back domestic social programs over military spending and new invasions. Yet the Obama regime, aided and abetted by the pro-Israel power configuration, in and out of the government, engages in constant pursuit of war policies aimed at Iran, Syria, Lebanon and any other Moslem country opposed to Israel’s erasure of Arab Palestine. The “brilliant” pro-war strategists and advisers in the Obama regime have pursued military and diplomatic policies which have led to political disasters, monstrous human rights violations and the gutting of US constitutional protections guaranteed to its citizens. To continue the pursuit of repeated failed policies, a gargantuan police state has been erected to spy, control and represses US citizens and overseas countries, allies and adversaries.

The “terror threat” fabrication occurs at a time and in response to the deepening international crisis and the political impasse facing the Obama regime – a time of deepening disenchantment among domestic and overseas public opinion and increasing pressure from the Israel Firsters to continue to press forward with the military agenda.

The single most devastating blow to the police state buildup are the documents made public by the NSA contractor, Edward Snowden, which revealed the vast worldwide network of NSA spying in violation of US constitutional freedoms and the sovereignty of countries. The revelations have discredited the Obama regime, provoked conflicts within and between allies, and strengthened the position of adversaries and critics of the US Empire.

Leading regional organizations, like MERCOSUR in Latin America, have attacked ‘cyber-imperialism’; the EU countries have questioned the notion of ‘intelligence cooperation’. Even dozens of US Congress people have called for reform and cutbacks in NSA funding.

The “terror threats” are timed by Obama to neutralize the Snowden revelations and justify the spy agency and its vast operations.

The Bradley Manning “show trial”, in which a soldier is tortured, often with forced nudity, in solitary confinement for almost a year, imprisoned for three years before his trial and publically prejudged by President Obama, numerous legislators and mass media (precluding any semblance of ‘fairness’), for revealing US war crimes against Iraqi and Afghan civilians, evoked mass protests the world over. Obama’s “terror threat” is trotted out to coincide with the pre-determined conviction of Manning in this discredited judicial farce and to buttress the argument that his exposure of gross US war crimes “served the enemy” (rather than the American public who Manning repeatedly has said deserve to know about the atrocities committed in its name). By re-launching the “war on terror” and intimidating the US public, the Obama regime is trying to discredit Bradley Manning’s heroic revelations of documented US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan by focusing on nebulous Al Qaeda terror threats over the internet!

In the international political arena, Obama has suffered a series of repeated political and diplomatic defeats with far-reaching implications for his fanatical empire building project.  The Obama-backed and Al Qaeda-led Islamist mercenary invasion of the sovereign nation of Syria has suffered a series of military defeats and his proxy jihadist ‘freedom-fighters’ have been denounced by most prestigious human rights groups for their massacres and ethnic cleansing of civilian populations in Syria (especially Christians, Kurds, Alevis and secular Syrians). Obama’s Syrian ‘adventure’ has backfired, and is clearly unleashing a new generation of Islamist terrorists, armed by the Gulf States – especially Saudi Arabia and Qatar, trained by Turkish and NATO Special Forces and now available for global terrorist “assignments” against US client states, Europe and the US itself. In turn the Syrian debacle has had a major impact on Obama’s NATO ally, Turkey, where mass protests are challenging Prime Minister Erdogan’s military support for Islamist mercenaries, based along the Turkish border with Syria. Erdogan’s savage repression of hundreds of thousands of peaceful protestors, the arbitrary arrest of thousands of pro-democracy activists and his own “show trials” of hundreds of journalists, military officials, students, intellectuals and trade unionists, has certainly discredited Obama’s main “democratic Islamist” ally and undermined Washington’s attempt to anchor its dominance via a triangular alliance of Israel, Turkey and the Gulf monarchies.

Further discredit of Obama’s foreign policy of co-opting Islamist “electoral regimes” has occurred in Egypt and is pending in Tunisia. Obama’s post-Mubarak policy in Egypt looked to a “power sharing” arrangement between the democratically elected President Morsi of the Moslem Brotherhood, the Mubarak-era military and neo-liberal politicians, like Mohamed El Baradei. Instead, General Sistani grabbed power via the army, overthrowing and jailing the civilian President Morsi. The Egyptian army under Sistani has massacred peaceful pro-democracy Muslim protestors and purged the parliament, press and   independent voices. Forced to choose between the military dictatorship composed of the henchman of the former Mubarak dictatorship and the mass-based Muslim Brotherhood, US Secretary of State John Kerry backed the military take-over as a “transition to democracy” (steadfastly refusing to use the term ‘coup d’état’). This has opened wide the door to a period of mass repression and resistance in Egypt and severely weakened a key link in the “axis of reaction” in North Africa (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt).

Obama’s incapacity to deal with the new peace overtures by the recently elected President Rouhani in Iran was evident in the Administrations capitulation to a Congressional vote (420 – 20) in favor of further and more severe sanctions designed, according to the bill’s AIPAC authors, to “strangle the Iranian oil economy”. Secretary of State Kerry’s offer to “negotiate” with Iran, under a US-imposed blockade and economic sanctions, was seen in Teheran, and by most independent observers, as an empty theatrical gesture, of little consequence. Obama’s failure to check the Israeli-Zionist stranglehold on US foreign policy toward Iran and to strike a deal ensuring a nuclear-weapon-free Iran, ensures that the region will continue to be a political and military powder keg. Obama’s appointments of prominent Zionist zealots to strategic Middle East policy positions ensures that the US and the Obama regime have no options for Iran, Palestine, Syria or Lebanon– except to follow the options dictated by Tel Aviv directly to its US agents, the 52 Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations, who along with their insider Zionist collaborators, co-author the Middle East policy script for the US Congress and the White House.

The Obama regime’s Israeli-Palestine peace negotiations are seen by most observers as the most distorted and bizarre efforts to date in that cruel farce.  Washington has purchased the leaders of the Palestinian ‘Authority’ with multi-million dollar handouts and gave way to Israel’s accelerated land grabbing in the occupied West Bank and ‘Jews only’ settlement construction, as well as the mass eviction of 40,000 Bedouins within Israel itself.

To ensure the desired result – a total fiasco, Obama appointed one of the most fanatical of pro-Israeli zealots in Washington as its “mediator”, the tri-national Martin Indyk, known in diplomatic circles as “Israel’s lawyer” (and the first US Ambassador to be stripped of security clearance for mishandling documents.)

The breakdown of the negotiations is foretold.  Obama, caught in the web of his own long-term reactionary alliances and loyalties and obsessed with military solutions, has developed a knack for engaging in prolonged losing wars, multiplying enemies and alienating allies.

Conclusion

The result of prolonged unpopular wars of aggression has been the massive built-up of a monstrous domestic police state, pervasive spying around the world and the commission of egregious violations of the US Constitution. This, in turn, has led to crudely concocted “terror plots” to cover-up the repeated foreign policy failures and to slander and persecute courageous whistle blowers and threaten other decent American patriots. The recent declaration of another vast ‘terror plot’, which served to justify the illegal activities of US spy agencies and ‘unify Congress’, produced hysteria lasting less than a week. Subsequently, reports began to trickle in, even in the obedient US mass media, discrediting the basis of the alleged global terror conspiracy. According to one report, the much-ballyhooed ‘Al Qaeda plot’ turned out to be a failed effort to blow-up an oil terminal and oil pipeline in Yemen. According to regional observers: “Pipelines are attacked nearly weekly in Yemen”[6] And so an unsuccessful jihadist attack against a pipeline in a marginal part of the poorest Arab state morphed into President Obama’s breathless announcement of a global terrorist threat! An outrageous joke has been played on the President, his Administration and his Congressional followers. But during this great orchestrated ‘joke’, Obama unleashed a dozen drone assassination attacks against human targets of his own choosing, killing dozens of Yemeni citizens, including many innocent bystanders.

What is even less jocular is that Obama, the Master of Deceit, just moves on. His proposed “reforms” are aimed to retrench NSA activities; he insists on continuing the “bulk collection” (hundreds of millions) of US citizens’ telephone communications (FT 8/12/13 p2). He retains intact the massive police state spy apparatus, keeps his pro-Israel policymakers in strategic positions, reaffirms his policy of confrontation with Iran and escalates tensions with Russia, China and Venezuela. Obama embraces a new wave of military dictatorships, starting, but not ending, with Egypt.

In the face of diminishing support at home and abroad and the declining credibility of  his crude “terror” threats, one wonders if the ever-active clandestine apparatus would actually stage its own real-life bloody act of terror, a secret state supported ‘false-flag’ bombing, to convince an increasingly disenchanted and skeptical public? Such would be a desperate act for the State, but these are desperate times facing a failed Administration, pursuing losing wars in which the Masters of Defeat can now only rely on the Masters of Deceit.

The Obama regime is infested with the “toxic politics of terrorism” and this addiction has driven him to persecute, torture and imprison truth seekers, whistle blowers and true patriots who strive (and will continue to strive) to awaken the sleeping giant, in hopes that the people of America will arise again.

Reposted with permission from the author, James Petras.

NOTES:

[1] BBC News 8/16/13; Al Jazeera 9/16/13

[2] La Jornada (Mexico City) 8/16/13, p. 22;FINANCIAL TIMES 8/10-11/13”T he exact threat to US missions has yet to be made public..”

[3] Financial Times 8/8/13, p. 2  and Financial Times 8/10-11 2013 p 2; McClatchy Washington Bureau 8/5/13

[4] Information Clearing House Web Page

[5] Financial Times 8/8/13, p. 2.

[6] Financial Times, 8/8/13, p. 2.

Jun 062013
 

By William Blum, 99GetSmart

images

In this season of college graduations, let us pause to remember the stirring words of America’s beloved scholar, George W. Bush, speaking in Florida in 2007 at the commencement exercises of Miami Dade College:

“In Havana and other Cuban cities, there are people just like you who are attending school, and dreaming of a better life. Unfortunately those dreams are stifled by a cruel dictatorship that denies all freedom in the name of a dark and discredited ideology.” 1

How I wish I had been in the audience. I would have stood up and shouted: “In Cuba all education is completely free. But most of the young people sitting here today will be chained to a large, crippling debt for much of the rest of their life!”

As the security guards came for me I’d yell: “And no one in Cuba is forced to join the military to qualify for college financial aid, like Bradley Manning was forced!”

As they grabbed me I’d manage to add: “And Congress has even passed a law prohibiting students from declaring bankruptcy to get rid of their debt!”

And as I was being dragged away, with an arm around my neck, I’d squeeze out my last words: “Do you know that $36 billion in student debt belongs to Americans who are 60 or older? … (choke, gasp) … and that students have committed suicide because of their debt?”

I don’t know if Professor Bush would have found any words within his intellect to respond with, but the last words I’d hear from the students, as the handcuffs were being tightened, would be: “If you don’t like it here, why dontya move to Cuba?”

Bad enough they have to pay highway-robbery tuition, but they wind up brainwashed anyhow.

Let us now turn to the current president. Here he is at the May 19 graduation ceremony at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Martin Luther King’s alma mater:

I know that when I am on my deathbed someday, I will not be thinking about any particular legislation I passed; I will not be thinking about a policy I promoted; I will not be thinking about the speech I gave, I will not be thinking the Nobel Prize I received. I will be thinking about that walk I took with my daughters. I’ll be thinking about a lazy afternoon with my wife. I’ll be thinking about sitting around the dinner table and seeing them happy and healthy and knowing that they were loved. And I’ll be thinking about whether I did right by all of them.

And I, like Woody Allen’s Zelig, would have shown up at this graduation as well, and I would have shouted out: “What about the family sitting happy and healthy around the dinner table in Pakistan or Afghanistan, and a missile – your missile – comes screaming through the roof, reducing the precious family to bones and blood and dust. What about the nice happy and healthy families in Yemen and Iraq and Somalia and Libya whom you’ve droned and missled to death? Why haven’t you returned the Nobel Prize? In case you’ve forgotten, it was a PEACE prize!”

Oh, that taser does hurt! Please contribute to my bail fund.

Pipelineistan

I have written on more than one occasion about the value of preaching and repeating to the choir on a regular basis. One of my readers agreed with this, saying: “How else has Christianity survived 2,000 years except by weekly reinforcement?”

Well, dear choir, beloved parishioners, for this week’s sermon we once again turn to Afghanistan. As US officials often make statements giving the impression that the American military presence in that sad land is definitely winding down – soon to be all gone except for the standard few thousand American servicemen which almost every country in the world needs stationed on their territory – one regularly sees articles in the mainstream media and government releases trying to explain what it was all about. For what good reason did thousands of young Americans breathe their last breath in that backward country and why were tens of thousands of Afghans dispatched by the United States to go meet Allah (amidst widespread American torture and other violations of human rights)?

The Washington Post recently cited a Defense Department report that states: The United States “has wound up with a reasonable ‘Plan B’ for achieving its core objective of preventing Afghanistan from once again becoming a safe haven for al-Qaeda and its affiliates.”

“Preventing a safe haven for terrorists” – that was the original reason given back in 2001 for the invasion of Afghanistan, a consistency in sharp contrast to the ever-changing explanations for Iraq. However, it appears that the best and the brightest in our government and media do not remember, if they ever knew, that Afghanistan was not really about 9-11 or fighting terrorists (except the many the US has created by its invasion and occupation), but was about pipelines.

President Obama declared in August 2009: “But we must never forget this is not a war of choice. This is a war of necessity. Those who attacked America on 9/11 are plotting to do so again. If left unchecked, the Taliban insurgency will mean an even larger safe haven from which al Qaeda would plot to kill more Americans.” 2

Never mind that out of the tens of thousands of people the United States and its NATO front have killed in Afghanistan not one has been identified as having had anything to do with the events of September 11, 2001.

Never mind – even accepting the official version of 9/11 – that the “plotting to attack America” in 2001 was devised in Germany and Spain and the United States more than in Afghanistan. Why didn’t the United States bomb those countries?

Indeed, what actually was needed to plot to buy airline tickets and take flying lessons in the United States? A room with a table and some chairs? What does “an even larger safe haven” mean? A larger room with more chairs? Perhaps a blackboard? Terrorists intent upon attacking the United States can meet almost anywhere. At the present time there are anti-American terrorist types meeting in Libya, Syria, Turkey, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, London, Paris, and many other places. And the Taliban of Afghanistan would not be particularly anti-American if the United States had not invaded and occupied their country. The Taliban are a diverse grouping of Afghan insurgents whom the US military has come to label with a single name; they are not primarily international jihadists like al-Qaeda and in fact have had an up-and-down relationship with the latter.

The only “necessity” that drew the United States to Afghanistan was the desire to establish a military presence in this land that is next door to the Caspian Sea region of Central Asia – reportedly containing the second largest proven reserves of petroleum and natural gas in the world – and build oil and gas pipelines from that region running through Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is well situated for such pipelines to serve much of South Asia and even parts of Europe, pipelines that – crucially – can bypass Washington’s bêtes noire, Iran and Russia. If only the Taliban would not attack the lines. Here’s Richard Boucher, US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, in 2007: “One of our goals is to stabilize Afghanistan, so it can become a conduit and a hub between South and Central Asia so that energy can flow to the south.” 3

Since the 1980s all kinds of pipelines have been planned for the area, only to be delayed or canceled by one military, financial or political problem or another. For example, the so-called TAPI pipeline (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) had strong support from Washington, which was eager to block a competing pipeline that would bring gas to Pakistan and India from Iran. TAPI goes back to the late 1990s, when the Taliban government held talks with the California-based oil company Unocal Corporation. These talks were conducted with the full knowledge of the Clinton administration, and were undeterred by the extreme repression of Taliban society. Taliban officials even made trips to the United States for discussions. 4

Testifying before the House Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific on February 12, 1998, Unocal representative John Maresca discussed the importance of the pipeline project and the increasing difficulties in dealing with the Taliban:

The region’s total oil reserves may well reach more than 60 billion barrels of oil. Some estimates are as high as 200 billion barrels … From the outset, we have made it clear that construction of the pipeline we have proposed across Afghanistan could not begin until a recognized government is in place that has the confidence of governments, leaders, and our company.

When those talks with the Taliban stalled in 2001, the Bush administration reportedly threatened the Taliban with military reprisals if the Afghan government did not go along with American demands. On August 2 in Islamabad, US State Department negotiator Christine Rocca reiterated to the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, Abdul Salam Zaeef: “Either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold [oil], or we bury you under a carpet of bombs.” 5 The talks finally broke down for good a month before 9-11.

The United States has been serious indeed about the Caspian Sea and Persian Gulf oil and gas areas. Through one war or another beginning with the Gulf War of 1990-1, the US has managed to establish military bases in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan.

The war against the Taliban can’t be “won” short of killing everyone in Afghanistan. The United States may well try again to negotiate some form of pipeline security with the Taliban, then get out, and declare “victory”. Barack Obama can surely deliver an eloquent victory speech from his teleprompter. It might even include the words “freedom” and “democracy”, but certainly not “pipeline”.

“We are literally backing the same people in Syria that we are fighting in Afghanistan and that have just killed our ambassador in Libya! We must finally abandon the interventionist impulse before it is too late.” – Congressman Ron Paul, September 16, 2012 6

How it all began: “To watch the courageous Afghan freedom fighters battle modern arsenals with simple hand-held weapons is an inspiration to those who love freedom. Their courage teaches us a great lesson – that there are things in this world worth defending. To the Afghan people, I say on behalf of all Americans that we admire your heroism, your devotion to freedom, and your relentless struggle against your oppressors.” – President Ronald Reagan, March 21, 1983

A Modest Proposal

Washington’s sanctions against Iran are a wonder to behold, seriously hampering Tehran’s ability to conduct international commerce, make payments, receive money, import, export, invest, travel … you name the hardship and the United States is trying to impose it on the government and the people of Iran. In early May a bipartisan bill was introduced in Congress aimed at stopping Iran from gaining access to its billions of dollars in euros kept in overseas banks – money that represents up to a third of Tehran’s total hard-currency holdings. In addition, Congress is looking to crack down on a weakness in current sanctions law that allows Iran to replenish its hard-currency accounts by acquiring gold through overseas markets.

Washington has as well closed down Iran’s media operations in the United States, is putting great pressure on Pakistan to cancel their project to build a pipeline to import natural gas from Iran, and punished countless international companies for doing business with Iran.

After a plane crash in Iran in 2011, the Washington Post reported: “Plane crashes are common in Iran, which for decades has been prevented from buying spare parts for its aging fleet by sanctions imposed by the United States.” 7

There are many more examples of the sanctions of mass destruction.

All this to force Iran to abandon any program that might conceivably lead someday to a nuclear weapon, thus depriving Israel of being the only nuclear power in the Middle East. The United States doesn’t actually say this. It instead says, explicitly or implicitly, that a nuclear Iran would be a danger to attack the US or Israel, without giving any reason why Iran would act so suicidal; at the same time Washington ignores repeated statements from various Israeli and American officials that they have no such fear.

Now, a group of US lawmakers is proposing a more drastic remedy: cutting off Iran entirely from world oil markets. Oil sales provide Iran with the bulk of its foreign-currency earnings. The plan would require all countries to stop buying oil from Iran or risk losing access to the US banking system. 8

And Iran ignores it all, refusing to bend. Islamic fanatics they are.

I have a much simpler solution. Why not cut off all exports of food to Iran? Worldwide. And anything that goes into producing food – seed, fertilizer, farm equipment, etc. Let’s see how good they are at ignoring it when their children’s bellies start to balloon. And medicines and medical equipment as well! Let’s see how good they are at producing whatever they need themselves.

Officials at The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimated that as many as 6,000 Iraqi children died each month in the early 1990s primarily due to the sanctions imposed by the US, the UK and others. As proof of the lasting effectiveness and goodness of that policy, today blessed peace reigns in Iraq among its citizens.

And if all else fails with Iran … Nuke the bastards! That may be the only way they’ll learn what a horrible weapon a nuclear bomb is, a weapon they shouldn’t be playing around with.

In recent times Iraq, Libya, Syria and Iran have been the prime forces standing in the way of USraeli Middle East domination. Thus it was that Iraq was made into a psychotic basket case. Libya’s welfare state was wiped out and fundamentalists have imposed Islamic law on much of the country. The basketizing of Syria is currently in process. Iran’s basketizing has begun with draconian sanctions, the way the basketizing of Iraq began.

It’s worth noting that Iraq, Syria, and Libya were the leading secular states of the Middle East. History may not treat kindly the impoverishment and loss of freedoms that the US-NATO-European Union Triumvirate has brought down upon the heads of the people of these lands.

House in eastern Yemen destroyed by US drone strike, 2 September 2012

What are we going to do about our sociopathic corporations?

Scarcely a day goes by in the United States without a news story about serious ethical/criminal misbehavior by a bank or stock brokerage or credit-rating agency or insurance agency or derivatives firm or some other parasitic financial institution. Most of these firms produce no goods or services useful to human beings, but spend their days engaged in the manipulation of money, credit and markets, employing dozens of kinds of speculation.

Consider the jail time served for civil disobedience by environmental, justice and anti-war activists, in contrast to the lifestyle enjoyed by the wicked ones who crashed the financial system and continue to fund the wounding of our bleeding planet.

The federal and state governments threaten to sue the financial institutions. Sometimes they actually do sue them. And a penalty is paid. And then the next scandal pops up. And another penalty is paid. And so it goes.

Picture this: A fleet of police cars pulls up in front of Bank of America’s Corporate Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. A dozen police officers get out, enter the building, and take the elevator to the offices of the bank’s top executives. Minutes later the president and two vice-presidents – their arms tightly bound in handcuffs behind their back – are paraded through the building in full view of their employees who stare wide-eyed and open-mouthed. The sidewalk is of course fully occupied by the media as the police encircle the building with tape saying “No tresspassing. Crime scene.”.

But remember, just because America has been taken over by mendacious mass-murdering madmen doesn’t mean we can’t have a good time.

Notes

  • Washington Post, April 29, 2007 ↩
  • Talk given by the president at Veterans of Foreign Wars convention, August 17, 2009 ↩
  • Talk at the Paul H. Nitze School for Advanced International Studies, Washington, DC, September 20, 2007 ↩
  • See, for example, the December 17, 1997 article in the British newspaper, The Telegraph, “Oil barons court Taliban in Texas”. ↩
  • Pepe Escobar, Asia Times, September 12, 2012 (Information Clearing House) ↩
  • The Hill, daily congressional newspaper, Washington, DC ↩
  • Washington Post, January 10, 2011 ↩
  • Washington Post, May 13, 2013 ↩
May 092012
 

 

* DEMOCRACY’S CRADLE, ROCKING THE WORLD

By Mark Mazower, NYTimes

YESTERDAY, the whole world was watching Greece as its Parliament voted to pass a divisive package of austerity measures that could have critical ramifications for the global financial system. It may come as a surprise that this tiny tip of the Balkan Peninsula could command such attention. We usually think of Greece as the home of Plato and Pericles, its real importance lying deep in antiquity. But this is hardly the first time that to understand Europe’s future, you need to turn away from the big powers at the center of the continent and look closely at what is happening in Athens. For the past 200 years, Greece has been at the forefront of Europe’s evolution.

In the 1820s, as it waged a war of independence against the Ottoman Empire, Greece became an early symbol of escape from the prison house of empire. For philhellenes, its resurrection represented the noblest of causes. “In the great morning of the world,” Shelley wrote in “Hellas,” his poem about the country’s struggle for independence, “Freedom’s splendor burst and shone!” Victory would mean liberty’s triumph not only over the Turks but also over all those dynasts who had kept so many Europeans enslaved. Germans, Italians, Poles and Americans flocked to fight under the Greek blue and white for the sake of democracy. And within a decade, the country won its freedom. […]

READ @ http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/30/opinion/30mazower.html?_r=2

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* GREEK COALITION TALKS REMAIN DEADLOCKED

 If no deal is reached in next few days, new elections will be called, amid concerns over country’s future in eurozone.

Source: Aljazeera

Greece’s coalition talks have remained deadlocked, with conservative leader Antonis Samaras denouncing calls by the head of the runner-up party to reject the country’s international bailout.

Alexis Tsipras, whose Radical Left Coalition came a surprise second in Sunday’s election, has been entrusted with seeking partners for a governing coalition after Greeks deserted the two main parties in droves, angry at the pain that harsh austerity cuts have brought.

Tsipras is to meet both Samaras, who heads the conservative New Democracy party that placed first with 18.9 per cent and 108 seats in the 300-member parliament, and the socialist PASOK leader later on Wednesday, as well as other party leaders.

Samaras himself failed to cobble together a coalition on Monday. If Tsipras also fails, the job will move on to former finance minister and PASOK head, Evangelos Venizelos. […]

READ @ http://www.aljazeera.com/news/europe/2012/05/201259133116506335.html

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* IMMEDIATE NEGATION OF THE MEMORANDUM

Source: StopCartel

At a press conference in Athens, Alexis Tsipras head of the Left SYRIZA party has said that the country’s commitment to an EU/IMF rescue deal has become null after voters rejected pro-bailout parties in Sunday’s election..

“The popular verdict clearly renders the bailout deal null.”

He said said that Antonis Samaras and Evangelos Venizelos must take back their written support for the memorandum – by writing a letter to Brussels informing them of this. He presented his policy platform which he said was based on 5 pillars:

1. Immediate negation of the memorandum

2. Negation of all coming measures that will affect all aspects of employment law

3. Immediate changes to election legislation and negation of the ministerial culpability law

4. State control of banks

5. The creation of an international auditing body, with the purpose of finding a serious and logical solution to Greece’s debt repayment. […]

READ @ http://www.stopcartel.net/2012/05/08/POLITICS/Immediate_negation_of_the_memorandum/1171.html

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* “AUSTERITY PROGRAMS” – RICHARD D. WOLFF

Source: youtube

“Capitalism Hits the Fan”

In these short video clips, Professor Wolff offers quick commentary on topics relating to capitalism, the economic crisis, strategies for social change and current events.

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=9CkZPbvG7yQ

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* AUSTERITY CAN’T BE JUST FOR REGULAR PEOPLE

By Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

It didn’t take long to crank up the backlash against European voters. This is inevitable whenever a socialist wins a major election, but particularly now, when new French president François Hollande rode to victory shouting, “Austerity can no longer be inevitable!”

This sounds like the beginning of what will be a very heated debate over who has to pay for the excesses of the financial crisis. It was previously assumed that everybody but the actual financial services sector would have to pay, but voters in Europe now are refusing to go along, sparking a wave of eye-rolling editorials in the financial press. Even David Brooks got into the act today, penning a lugubrious editorial about the errant political instincts of the populist masses here and abroad.

Markets all over the world freaked out over the prospect of having ignorant European voters meddling in the recovery process the geniuses of the high finance world had already painstakingly laid out for them. The model for economic progress in the financial bubble era, after all, is supposed to go something like this: […]

READ @ http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/austerity-cant-be-a-one-way-street-20120508

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* CHICAGO PULLS PERMIT FOR NURSES RALLY PLANNED FOR NATO SUMMIT

By David Heinzmann, Chicago Tribune

The city of Chicago today yanked a permit for the first demonstration planned for the weekend of the NATO summit in a dispute over where the National Nurses United can hold its rally May 18.

The organization says it has begun talks with American Civil Liberties Union lawyers about a challenge to the city’s about-face. “If the nurses are a threat to Rahm Emanuel, then heaven help the U.S.,” said RoseAnn DeMoro, executive director of National Nurses United.

Chicago’s Department of Transportation approved the march from the Sheraton Hotel in Streeterville to Daley Plaza months ago, but on Tuesday the California-based group received word the city had changed the terms, according to  DeMoro. […]

READ @ http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-chicago-pulls-permit-for-nurses-rally-planned-close-to-nato-summit-20120508,0,2184773.story

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* THE GREAT NATO DEBATE

By Jake Malooley, Time Out Chicago

As heads of state and foreign ministers descend on McCormick Place for the May 20–21 North Atlantic Treaty Organization confab, so too comes the great debate about NATO. The military alliance was formed in 1949 by the U.S., Canada and ten European countries largely to defend North America and Western Europe from Soviet attack. But since the collapse of the Soviet Union, NATO has grown to 28 member countries and become arguably more offensive, engaging in conflicts in Yugoslavia during the Kosovo War in 1999, in Libya last year and, through 2014, in Afghanistan. So is NATO an international gang of thugs or a global peacekeeping force? We talked to people on both sides of the issue.

On NATO’s mission

PRO NATO

“NATO’s mission is to prevent war. And when it’s not able to prevent war, to intervene to make it end as quickly as possible. Frederick II of Prussia described it like this: Diplomacy without weapons is like an orchestra without instruments.”—J.D. Bindenagel, former U.S. ambassador to Germany, DePaul University vice president for community, government and international affairs

ANTI NATO

“NATO is a military bloc that describes itself as a force for peace, security, democracy, goodness and justice. But it’s a military bloc. A military organization exists for one reason: to wage war.”—Rick Rozoff, author of the blog Stop NATO […]

READ @ http://timeoutchicago.com/things-to-do/this-week-in-chicago/15324696/the-great-nato-debate

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* CORBETT REPORT RADIO 127 – THE NATO SUMMIT WITH RICK ROZOFF

Source: The Corbett Report

Podcast: Play in new window | Download

Tonight we are joined once again by Rick Rozoff of Stop NATO to discuss the upcoming NATO summit, which will be held in Chicago on May 20th and 21st. We talk about NATO as an extension of the Pentagon, its role as a global expeditionary force, the Chicago no-fly zone, the NATO missile shield and Why We March.

AUDIO @ http://www.corbettreport.com/corbett-report-radio-127-the-nato-summit-with-rick-rozoff/

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* BAHRAIN MEDICAL STAFF SENTENCED OVER PROTESTS

Thirteen doctors and nurses who treated anti-government protesters given 15-year jail terms for crimes against state.

Source: Aljazeera

Thirteen doctors and nurses who treated anti-government protesters during demonstrations in Bahrain earlier this year have been jailed for 15 years for crimes against the state.

Seven other medical professionals were given sentences of between five and 10 years by a special tribunal on Thursday that was set up during the emergency rule that followed the demonstrations.

The doctors’ trial has been closely watched and criticised by rights groups for Bahrain’s use of the security court, which has military prosecutors and both civilian and military judges, in prosecuting civilians. […]

READ AND VIDEO @ http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2011/09/20119298364868205.html

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* HUMAN RACE BEING TERMINATED BY ‘SCIENTIFIC SUICIDE’

By Mike Adams, Truth Theory

This is, without question, the most important article I’ve ever penned, because it discusses the idea that the human race is being destroyed in the name of science.

Stopping these “scientists” from destroying our world and our civilization must become our top priority if we hope to survive.

The entire Northern hemisphere is now imminently threatened by a massive, “global killer” radiation release from failing Fukushima reactor No. 4. (http://www.naturalnews.com/035789_Fukushima_Cesium-137_Plume-Gate.htm…). Our world is right now just one earthquake away from a radiological apocalypse, and we were put into this position by scientists who promised us that nuclear power would be safe and inexpensive.

Even as we live under the immediate threat of Cesium-137-induced radiological extinction, another group of genetic scientists threatens the future of our world with self-replicating genetic pollution. These scientists work for Monsanto, Dupont and other biotech firms that have compromised the future of life on Earth in order to seek their own selfish profits. Bill Gates and all the others who have promoted GMOs and allowed them to be unleashed into our world are guilty of nothing less than crimes against both the human race and nature itself.They are a threat to the continuation of life on Earth and must be stopped.

In the realm of human biology, our very existence is now being widely threatened by toxic vaccines. Always promoted in the name of “science,” these vaccines actually cause severe neurological damage and widespread infertility, compromising the ability of members of the human race to reproduce.

And in terms of our global food supply, the accelerating collapse of the honey beesis now solidly linked to the widespread use of chemical pesticides manufactured by pharmaceutical companies (http://www.naturalnews.com/034678_honey_bees_colony_collapse_pesticid…). These pesticides, of course, are always promoted in the name of “science!”

Real science is the quest for understanding, not the quest for profit […]

READ @ http://truththeory.com/2012/05/08/human-race-being-terminated-by-scientific-suicide/

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* FULL-BODY SCANNERS USED ON AIR PASSENGERS MAY DAMAGE HUMAN DNA

By Mike Adams, Natural News

In researching the biological effects of the millimeter wave scanners used for whole body imaging at airports, NaturalNews has learned that the energy emitted by the machines may damage human DNA.

Millimeter wave machines represent one of two primary technologies currently being used for the “digital strip searches” being conducted at airports around the world. “The Transportation Security Administration utilizes two technologies to capture naked images of air travelers – backscatter x-ray technology and millimeter wave technology,” reports the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a non-profit currently suing the U.S. government to stop these electronic strip searches. (http://epic.org/privacy/airtravel/backscatter/)

In order to generate the nude image of the human body, these machines emit terahertz photons — high-frequency energy “particles” that can pass through clothing and body tissue. […]

READ @ http://www.naturalnews.com/027913_full-body_scanners_DNA.html

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* HOMELAND SECURITY CONCEDES AIRPORT BODY SCANNER ‘VULNERABILITIES’

By David Kravets, Wired

Federal investigators “identified vulnerabilities in the screening process” at domestic airports using so-called “full body scanners,” according to a classified internal Department of Homeland Security report.

DHS has spent nearly $90 million replacing traditional magnetometers with controversial X-ray body scanning machines that are intended to detect items that could be missed by a metal detector.

Exactly how bad the body scanners are is not being divulged publicly, but the Inspector General report made eight separate recommendations on how to improve screening. […]

READ @ http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/05/body-scanner-vulnerabilities/

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* BODY SCANNER CEO ACCOMPANIED OBAMA TO INDIA

By Daniel Tencer, Raw Story

Ex-Homeland Security secretary’s company lobbies for body scanner maker

[…] Chopra’s company manufactures the Rapiscan brand of body scanners, currently being deployed across US airports. He joined the CEOs of such companies as GE, PepsiCo and United Technologies on the trip.

The president announced commercial deals worth some $10 billion during the trip, which he said would add some 50,000 jobs to the US economy. India decided earlier this year to implement body scanners at its airports, in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai attacks. (An early experiment with body scanners was quickly scuttled in 2007 due to privacy concerns.)

That a manufacturer of body scanners accompanied the US president on a foreign trip shows the extent of the ties between the industry and the US government. With anger growing at the intrusive news screening procedures, many observers have focused attention on Michael Chertoff, the former Homeland Security secretary whose consultancy, the Chertoff Group, counts OSI as a client. […]

[…] “Airport security has always been compromised by corporate interests,” wrote James Ridgeway at Mother Jones. “When it comes to high-tech screening methods, the TSA has a dismal record of enriching private corporations with failed technologies, and there are signs that the latest miracle device may just bring more of the same.” […]

READ @ http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/11/21/body-scanner-ceo-obama-india/

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* US MILITARY, CIA OUT OF CONTROL IN AFGHANISTAN

Source: RT

RT: Just a week after Obama visited Afghanistan to confirm his future commitment to the country, we have yet more news of civilian deaths at the hands of the US military. Just how strong do you think this partnership really is? 

Ahmed Quraishi: I think president Karzai will have to learn the hard way that he cannot trust commitments by the US military and the CIA. And when we talk about President Karzai, let’s talk about someone else in Kabul who was complaining quietly about the latest attacks that killed Afghan civilians. I’m talking about American diplomats who actually negotiated the instituted partnership agreement and memorandum of understanding last week that enabled Obama to say that he is moving forward in Afghanistan.

Now, the American diplomats in Kabul are complaining quietly the CIA and the US military by taking actions such as the ones that kill Afghan civilians are undermining the entire body of work, a very hard work over several months that led to the partnership agreement.

And today we have the news that the American ambassador here in Pakistan has actually cut short his assignment here and flown back to Washington because basically the American diplomats here too are complaining that the US military and the CIA are out of control. They do the hard work; they try to work with the Afghan government and the Pakistani government. But when it comes to the US military and the CIA, they destroy everything.

So basically what you see happening right now in Kabul is that President Karzai is in the same position as the US State Department and the US diplomats are in Kabul, which is basically: they cannot trust the US military, they cannot trust the CIA. […]

READ and VIDEO @ http://rt.com/news/afghanistan-us-military-drone-strikes-786/

Mar 222012
 

 

* FINALLY COMPETITIVE! PART-TIME JOBS IN GREECE FOR JUST 255 EURO GROSS

Source: KeepTalkingGreece

You happen to be in Greece and fortune bless you with a part time job? If you’re under 25 years old… you’d better stay home. All you can earn working 4 hours per day, 20 hours per week, 80 hours per month will give you just 255 euro gross. Net salary it is estimated a little lower than 200 euro. As much as your daddy can give you or your granny before her pension was cut. If you are over 25, you can get the amazing amount of 299 euro per month – gross. This applies to young professionals without previous work experience. And they are many. According to official statistics one out of two young Greeks under 25 are jobless. Unemployment in Greece is estimated at 20+%. The data for 2011 have not been released yet.

In a much better situation are employees with work experience of more than 9 years. A part-time job will give them 380 euro gross per month if they are over 25. If they are under 25 and have 3+ years working experience, they’ll go home with less than 280 euro.

These wages are formed after the decreases of 22% and 32% in the private sector.

The lawmakers (earning more than 5,000 euro per month) have decided so after the Troika’s pressure to increase ‘competitiveness’ in Greece. The wages cuts are valid retrospective from February 14. Employers can cut their employees’ wages even without their consent. […]

READ @ http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2012/03/21/finally-competitive-part-time-jobs-in-greece-for-just-255-eur-gross/

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* GREEK REGIME’S OFFICIALS ENJOY BIG SALARY INCREASES

Source: StopCartel

At this moment, when the Greek people have been victimized and are experiencing unprecedented conditions of poverty – while salaries of the ordinary citizens are being slashed left, right and centre -ministerial advisors and consultants can expect a pay rises of up to 26 percent, under measures announced on Wednesday!

Under the new pay scale, a minister’s head advisor with a higher degree will see his or her monthly salary increase from 1,691 to 2,271 euros. Overall, the increases will cost the exchequer 2.1m a year.

The above development constitutes a further challenge for the unemployed people,the pensioners, the homeless citizens and the employees in the public and private sector and it is more than certain that this news will trigger further social reaction and turmoil against the leading caste of the country in the coming period. […]

READ @ http://www.stopcartel.net/2012/03/15/POLITICS/Greek_regime’s_officials_enjoy_big_salaries_increases../1139.html

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* AMERICA’S DECLINE SINCE THE WTO

By James Moreland, Economy In Crisis

On January 1, 1995, the U.S. government joined the World Trade Organization. Unfortunately for our nation’s workforce, the WTO is run by multinationalists. It is a self-serving and undemocratic organization that operates outside of our control. Our constitution states that all treaties made under the authority of the United States become supreme law of the land. When our government signed this treaty, it effectively sold away a piece of our sovereignty. Because we have made this mistake, the bylaws of the WTO now supersede and negate those of our very Constitution.

Our laws, regulations and administrative procedures must now conform to the WTO treaty – making it the highest law and the highest court ruling over the United States, with no input from the American people. This most often ends up in an unjustifiably negative result for our country.

One of the biggest damaging contributors to come about as a direct result of the WTO was the entrance of China in 2001. According to the Economic Policy Institute, trade with China since then has resulted in the loss of over 3.1 million American jobs. Those fortunate enough to retain their jobs witnessed their annual earnings decrease by roughly $1,400. American workers are put in direct competition with one another as more and more employers look to offshore production to nations with lower wage rates.

Jobs losses have affected both white and blue-collar sectors of the economy. Over that time we have lost:

  • Over 600,000 (627,700) jobs in computer and electronic products,
  • Roughly 150,000 (150,200) in apparel and accessories,
  • More than 130,000 (136,900) in miscellaneous manufactured goods,
  • Over 150,000 (153,300) in administrative support services,
  • And nearly 140,000 (139,000) in professional, scientific and technical services. […]

READ @ http://economyincrisis.org/content/wtos-disastrous-effects

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* THE U.S. AND LATIN AMERICA DRIFT APART OVER CUBA

By Nil Nikandrov, Strategic Cultural Foundation

The slogan of the VI Summit of the Americas which will convene in Cartagena de Indias (Columbia) on April 14-15 – «Connecting the Americas: Partners for Prosperity» – is intended to sound optimistic. At the forum, leaders of 34 countries of the Western Hemisphere plan to discuss an integration and regional cooperation agenda which, as they hope, will help them achieve their loudly stated goals of overcoming poverty and social inequality, maintaining security, and ensuring wide access to advanced technologies.

As before, Washington made sure that no invitation on the occasion was sent to Havana. US President Obama, Vice President J. Biden, and Secretary of State H. Clinton rolled out a standard grievances list – the suppression of free speech and public protests, the communist party’s dictate, and the imprisonment of dissenters in Cuba – to justify shutting the country out of the summit, while a number of US congressmen threatened to boycott it in case Raul Castro shows up. Thus the US diplomacy made a thinly disguised attempt to intimidate the ALBA leaders who felt very strong about their Cuban peer joining them at the forum.

Last February, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez expressed resolute opposition to the policy of isolating Havana and, citing the SELAC summit which condemned the inhumane US blockade of Cuba, warned that the US position prompted outrage across Latin America. In fact, the US pressure led ALBA countries to consider shunning the forum in response. For example, Bolivian president Evo Morales said the US conduct was undemocratic, discriminatory, and even racist as Cuba drives progressive change in the region and just one country – the US – should not be allowed to impose its approaches on the whole Latin America. […]

READ @ http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2012/03/22/the-us-and-latin-america-drift-apart-over-cuba.html

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* THE DALLAS FED IS CALLING FOR THE IMMEDIATE BREAKUP OF LARGE BANKS

By Joe Weisenthal, Business Insider

[…] Here’s the full letter from Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher, generally known as one of the most hawkish and conservative Fed Presidents.

Letter from the President:

If you are running one of the “too-big- to-fail” (TBTF) banks—alternatively known as “systemically important financial institutions,” or SIFIs—I doubt you are going to like what you read in this annual report essay written by Harvey Rosenblum, the head of the Dallas Fed’s Research Department, a highly regarded Federal Reserve veteran of 40 years and the former president of the National Association for Business Economics.

Memory fades with the passage of time. Yet it is important to recall that it was in recog- nition of the precarious position in which the TBTF banks and SIFIs placed our economy in 2008 that the U.S. Congress passed into law the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd–Frank). While the act established a number of new macroprudential features to help promote financial stability, its overarching purpose, as stated unambiguously in its preamble, is ending TBTF.

However, Dodd–Frank does not eradi- cate TBTF. Indeed, it is our view at the Dallas Fed that it may actually perpetuate an already dangerous trend of increasing banking industry concentration. More than half of banking industry assets are on the books of just five institutions. The top 10 banks now account for 61 percent of commercial banking assets, substantially more than the 26 percent of only 20 years ago; their combined assets equate to half of our nation’s GDP. Further, as Rosenblum argues in his essay, there are signs that Dodd– Frank’s complexity and opaqueness may evenbe working against the economic recovery. In addition to remaining a lingering threat to financial stability, these megabanks signifi- cantly hamper the Federal Reserve’s ability to properly conduct monetary policy. […]

READ @ http://www.businessinsider.com/dallas-fed-calls-for-breakup-of-big-banks-2012-3#ixzz1plgWWQ7l

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* ANOTHER HIDDEN BAILOUT: HELPING WALL STREET COLLECT YOUR RENT

By Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

Here’s yet another form of hidden bailout the federal government doles out to our big banks, without the public having much of a clue.

This is from the WSJ this morning:

Some of the biggest names on Wall Street are lining up to become landlords to cash-strapped Americans by bidding on pools of foreclosed properties being sold by Fannie Mae…

While the current approach of selling homes one-by-one has its own high costs and is sometimes inefficient, selling properties in bulk to large investors could require Fannie Mae to sell at a big discount, leading to larger initial costs.

In con artistry parlance, they call this the “reload.” That’s when you hit the same mark twice – typically with a second scam designed to “fix” the damage caused by the first scam. Someone robs your house, then comes by the next day and sells you a fancy alarm system, that’s the reload. […]

READ @ http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/another-hidden-bailout-helping-wall-street-collect-your-rent-20120319

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* FAULT LINES – HISTORY OF AN OCCUPATION

Source: Aljazeera

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4VLYGfGDZg&feature=player_embedded

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* MAYOR’S OFFICE BUYS 8513 MORE FACE SHIELDS FOR NATO SUMMIT

By Fran Spielman, Chicago Sun-Times

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration is buying 8,513 more face shields for Chicago Police officers at a cost of $757,657 — and demanding delivery in time for the May 20-21 NATO summit — to give every officer on the street a shield that fits over a gas mask and prevents them from being blinded by liquids thrown by protesters.

The supplemental purchase from Colorado-based Super Seer Corp. brings to $954,118 the amount of money spent to purchase 11,570 face shields twice as thick as the old ones with a larger surface and air-tight seal to keep liquids out.

The new contract was piggybacked onto an existing Fairfax County, Va. award with a third-distributor to expedite delivery. It makes it clear the Chicago Police Department is not scaling back its protest preparations even though President Barack Obama has shifted the G-8 summit from Chicago to Camp David.

“It’s an urgent thing. They want ’em by May 15th. Their intent is to outfit all of the officers Chicago Police have with the new face shield for the NATO summit,” said Super Seer President Steve Smith, who is hiring a dozen employees to “ramp up” production. […]

READ @ http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/11443023-418/mayors-office-buys-8513-more-face-shields-nato-summit.html

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* ARGUMENT RECAP: NEW POWER FOR SECRET SERVICE

By Lyle Denniston, SCOTUSblog

With almost all of the Supreme Court Justices fretting openly about not fettering the Secret Service as it protects the President and Vice President, the government’s key protective agency appeared Wednesday on its way toward a new shield against being sued when it arrests someone it deems to be a threat.   The only question that seemed to be open in the one-hour argument was whether such a curb on lawsuits would be extended widely to police everywhere, when they are trying to keep control of a situation where people — in a crowd or alone — are saying controversial things that may seem threatening.

The technical issue before the Court was whether the Justices will allow a citizen to file a lawsuit claiming that a Secret Service agent arrested that individual in retaliation for speaking out against government policy, if they had some other reason to make the arrest anyway.  But the hearing quickly centered on the protective work that the Secret Service does for the government’s top officials, and the Justices began expressing concern about forcing those officers to think about whether they might face a damages lawsuit depending upon how they carry out that task.

Although the Court would be told, later in the argument, that this concern was misplaced, because there have not been very many claims in court of “retaliatory arrests” for exercising First Amendment rights, that did not seem to divert the Court from worrying over getting in the way of the White House security detail.  Justice Stephen G. Breyer repeatedly expressed anguish over the risks that confront high officials (himself the recent target of a house invasion by a robber), and told the Secret Service agents early in the argument that “you make a strong case” for legal immunity for agents when they make arrests of protesting individuals. […]

READ @ http://www.scotusblog.com/2012/03/argument-recap-new-power-for-secret-service/#more-141217

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* DISCUSSING THE MOTIVES OF THE AFGHAN SHOOTER

By Glenn Greenwald, Salon

[…] There is, quite obviously, a desperate need to believe that when an American engages in acts of violence of this type (meaning: as a deviation from formal American policy), there must be some underlying mental or emotional cause that makes it sensible, something other than an act of pure hatred or Evil. When a Muslim engages in acts of violence against Americans, there is an equally desperate need to believe the opposite: that this is yet another manifestation of inscrutable hatred and Evil, and any discussion of any other causes must be prohibited and ignored. […]

READ @ http://www.salon.com/2012/03/19/discussing_the_motives_of_the_afghan_shooter/singleton/