Oct 192016
 

By James Petras99GetSmart

119023

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.

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.